Bone and tissue changes following prostaglandin therapy in neonates

Ann Pharmacother. 1996 Mar;30(3):269-74, 277. doi: 10.1177/106002809603000311.


Objective: To review case reports describing prostaglandin-induced bone changes and tissue swelling in neonates.

Data sources: An Index Medicus and bibliographic search of the English-language literature pertaining to prostaglandin-induced bone changes and tissue swelling in neonates.

Data synthesis: Short- and long-term prostaglandin infusion in neonates is associated with cortical proliferation throughout the skeletal system. Total resolution of these changes has occurred in seven patients described to date; other reports did not note either the time or the regression of these changes. Skeletal changes may occur within 9 days of initiation of prostaglandin therapy and include widened fontanelles, pretibial and soft-tissue swelling, and swelling of the upper and lower extremities. These reactions may last up to 38 weeks following discontinuation of therapy. Alkaline phosphatase (AP) concentrations have been shown to be increased in four cases, as well as in one retrospective analysis. Although these were not prospective studies, evaluation of AP may provide a means to monitor neonates receiving prostaglandin therapy.

Conclusions: Pharmacists need to be aware of the potentially serious skeletal changes, encourage dosage titration as soon as possible, and limit the duration of time neonates are exposed to prostaglandin therapy. Monitoring of AP concentrations during therapy with prostaglandins may be beneficial in predicting or preventing further complications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alprostadil / adverse effects*
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects*
  • Bone and Bones / physiology
  • Dinoprostone / adverse effects*
  • Edema / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Hyperostosis / chemically induced*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Oxytocics / adverse effects*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / adverse effects*


  • Oxytocics
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Alprostadil
  • Dinoprostone