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Schindler T, Smyth J, Bolisetty S, Michalowski J, Mallitt KA, Singla A, Lui K. Early PARacetamol (EPAR) Trial: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Early Paracetamol to Promote Closure of the Ductus Arteriosus in Preterm Infants. Neonatology. 2021;118(3):274-281.

Introduction: This study aimed to investigate whether early treatment with paracetamol reduces the number of infants requiring intervention for patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and assess the safety profile of paracetamol during the early postnatal period.

Methods: This was a double-blind, parallel, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Preterm infants born at <29-week gestation with a ductus arteriosus >0.9 mm at 6 h of life were randomized to either (1) intravenous paracetamol (15 mg/kg initially and then 7.5 mg/kg every 6 h) or (2) intravenous dextrose for 5 days. The primary outcome was the need for any intervention for PDA up to 5 days. Secondary outcomes included ductal closure at 5 days, ductal size at 48 h, ductal reopening, mortality, and significant morbidities.

Results: Of 58 infants randomized, 29 were allocated to the intervention and 29 to the control group. The trial was stopped for benefit at 50% recruitment after reaching the prespecified stopping criteria. Less infants in the intervention group required intervention for PDA up to 5 days (6 [21%] vs. 17 [59%] infants [p = 0.003]; relative risk reduction 0.35 [95% CI 0.16-0.77; NNT 2.6]). The intervention group had a higher rate of ductal closure (20 [69%] vs. 8 [28%] infants [p = 0.002]) and smaller ductal size (1.0 mm [±0.8] vs. 1.4 mm [±0.9]; p = 0.04). Three deaths occurred (2 in the intervention group), which were not attributed to the intervention. No other adverse events were reported.

Discussion/conclusion: Early paracetamol treatment reduced the number of infants requiring intervention for PDA. Short-term safety data were reassuring, acknowledging the small number of infants involved in the study.

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