Oral Paracetamol vs Oral Ibuprofen in Patent Ductus Arteriosus: A Randomized, Controlled, Noninferiority Trial

J Pediatr. 2020 Jul;222:79-84.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.01.058. Epub 2020 Apr 24.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that oral paracetamol is non-inferior to oral ibuprofen in closing hemodynamically significant patent ductus arteriosus (hsPDA) with an a priori noninferiority (NI) margin of 15%.

Study design: Multicenter, randomized, controlled, NI trial conducted in level III neonatal intensive care units. Consecutively inborn preterm neonates of <32 weeks of gestation with hsPDA were included. Those with structural heart disease, major malformations, and contraindications for enteral feeding or for administration of study drugs were excluded. Interventions included oral paracetamol in the experimental arm and oral ibuprofen in the active control arm. The primary outcome was closure of hsPDA by 24 hours from the last dose of the study drug. Secondary outcome measures included closure of hsPDA by 24 hours after the first course of the study drug, rate of reopening after the first course, and adverse events associated with the study drug.

Results: Out of 1250 neonates screened, 161 were randomized. Oral paracetamol was noninferior to oral ibuprofen in closure of hsPDA by both per protocol analysis (62 [95.4%] vs 63 [94%]; relative risk [RR], 1.01 [95% CI, 0.94-1.1]; risk difference [RD], 1.4 [95% CI, -6 to 9]; P = .37) and intention-to-treat analysis (63 [89%] vs 65 [89%]; RR, 0.99 [95% CI, 0.89-1.12]; RD, -0.3 [95% CI, -11 to 10]; P = .47). All adverse events were comparable in the 2 study arms.

Conclusions: Oral paracetamol is noninferior to oral ibuprofen for the closure of hsPDA in preterm neonates of <32 weeks of gestation. No difference was observed in the adverse events studied.

Keywords: controlled; hemodynamically significant; randomized.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Equivalence Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ductus Arteriosus, Patent / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / administration & dosage*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male


  • Acetaminophen
  • Ibuprofen