Efficacy and cost analysis of treating very low birth weight infants with erythropoietin during their first two weeks of life: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Division of Neonatology, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0296.

Journal of Pediatrics. 1995;126((3):):421-6.
OBJECTIVE We hypothesized that using a higher dose of erythropoietin (Epo) and starting treatment on the first day of life would reduce the transfusion requirements of ventilator-dependent and non-ventilator-dependent very low birth weight (VLBW) infants. Moreover, we hypothesized that this treatment would be cost-effective. METHODS We randomly assigned 20 ill newborn VLBW infants to receive either Epo (200 units/kg per day) or placebo during their first 2 weeks of life. The caregivers were unaware of the treatment assignments, and erythrocyte transfusions were administered according to hematocrit and signs of anemia. RESULTS On day 1, reticulocyte counts and hematocrits were similar in the two groups. During the subsequent 2 weeks, reticulocyte counts of the placebo recipients fell significantly below those of the Epo recipients, but hematocrits in the two groups did not differ. More transfusions were received by the placebo recipients (mean = 1.4 per patient) than by the Epo recipients (mean = 0.2 per patient; p < 0.01). No adverse effects of Epo were noted, and the costs in the placebo group exceeded those in the Epo group. CONCLUSIONS We conclude that administration of Epo to VLBW infants during the first 2 weeks of life results in fewer transfusions and is cost-effective.
Study details
Language : English
Additional Material : Comment in: J Pediatr. 1995 Oct;127(4):672-3; PMID: 7562305
Credits : Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine