Effects of early postnatal dexamethasone therapy on calcium homeostasis and bone growth in preterm infants with respiratory distress syndrome

Y. J. Lin, T. F. Yeh, H. C. Lin, J. M. Wu, C. H. Lin, C. Y. Yu

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The effects of dexamethasone therapy on calcium homeostasis and bone growth were evaluated in 49 infants (24 placebo and 25 dexamethasone) who participated in a double-blind trial of early dexamethasone therapy for the prevention of chronic lung disease. Dexamethasone (0.25 mg kg-1 b.i.d. on d 1-7; mg kg-1 b.i.d. on d 8-14; 0.05 mg kg-1 b.i.d. on d 15-21; 0.02 mg kg- 1 b.i.d. on d 22-28) or saline placebo was given i.v. Serum calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and parathyroid hormone (PTH), and the corresponding urinary excretion of calcium (FE(Ca)) and phosphorus (FE(p)) were measured on d 2, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21 and 28 after starting the study. Radiographic evaluations of bone growth were also evaluated. Infants in the dexamethasone group had significantly higher PTH on d 2 (p < 0.01), 7 and 14 (p < 0.05) than infants in the placebo group. The dexamethasone-treated infants also had significantly higher FE(p) on d 2, 7 and 14 (p < 0.05) and lower FE(Ca) on d 7 and 14 (p < 0.05) than control infants. There was no significant difference between the groups in bone growth during the study. It was concluded that early dexamethasone therapy causes a transient elevation in PTH without apparent change in bone growth. The long-term effect remains to be evaluated further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1061-1065
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 28 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Calcium homeostasis dexamethasone
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Preterm infant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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