Indomethacin is used as standard therapy to close a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) but is associated with reduced blood flow to several organs. Ibuprofen, another cyclo-oxygenase inhibitor, may be as effective as indomethacin with fewer side effects. To determine the efficacy and safety of ibuprofen for closing a PDA in preterm and/or low birth weight infants. Seperate comparisons are presented for 1. ibuprofen (iv) compared with placebo; 2. ibuprofen (oral) compared with placebo; 3. ibuprofen (oral or iv) compared with other cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors (given iv or orally); 4. ibuprofen (oral) versus indomethacin (given iv or orally); 5. ibuprofen (oral) versus iv ibuprofen; 6. high dose versus standard dose of iv ibuprofen; 7. early versus expectant administration of iv ibuprofen. We searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Clincialtrials.gov, Controlled-trials.com, www.abstracts2view.com/pas, and personal files in July 2012. Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of ibuprofen for the treatment of a PDA in newborn infants. Data collection and analysis conformed to the methods of the Cochrane Neonatal Review Group. Twenty-seven studies are included in this review. One study (n = 136) compared iv ibuprofen versus placebo. Ibuprofen reduced the composite outcome of infant deaths, infants who dropped out or required rescue treatment; risk ratio (RR) 0.58 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38 to 0.89); risk difference (RD) -0.22 (95% CI -0.38 to -06); number needed to benefit (NNTB) 5 (95% CI 3 to 17). One study (n = 64) compared oral ibuprofen with placebo. There was a significant reduction in the failure rate to close a PDA; RR 0.26 (95% CI 0.11 to 0.62); RD -0.44 (95% CI -0.65 to -0.23); NNTB 2 (95% CI 2 to 4). Failure rates for PDA closure with ibuprofen (oral or iv) compared with indomethacin (oral or iv) was reported in 20 studies (n = 1019 infants). There was no significant difference between the groups; typical RR 0.98 (95% CI 0.80 to 1.20) I(2) = 0%; typical RD -0.01 (95% CI -0.06 to 0.05); I(2) = 0%. The risk of developing necrotising enterocolitis (NEC) was reduced for ibuprofen (15 studies (n = 865); typical RR 0.68 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.99); typical RD -0.04 (95% CI -0.08 to -0.00; (P = 0.04); NNTB 25 (95% CI 13, infinity); I(2) = 0%). The duration of ventilatory support was reduced with ibuprofen (oral or iv) compared with iv or oral indomethacin (six studies, n = 471) mean difference (MD) -2.35 days (95% CI -3.71 to -0.99); I(2) = 19%. Failure rates for PDA closure with oral ibuprofen compared with indomethacin (oral or iv) were reported in seven studies (n = 189 infants). There was no significant difference between the groups; typical RR 0.82 (95% CI 0.52 to 1.29); typical RD -0.06 (95% CI -0.18 to 0.06). The risk of NEC was reduced with oral ibuprofen compared with indomethacin (oral or iv) six studies (n = 166); typical RR 0.44 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.82); RD -0.15 (95% CI -0.25 to -0.04); NNTB 7 (95% CI 4 to 25). There was no heterogeneity for this outcome. There was a decreased risk of failure to close a PDA with oral ibuprofen compared with iv ibuprofen, three studies (n = 236) typical RR 0.37 (95% CI 0.23 to 0.61); typical RD -0.24 (95% CI -0.35 to -0.13); NNTB 4 (95% CI 3 to 8). There was less evidence of transient renal insufficiency in infants who received ibuprofen compared with indomethacin. High dose versus standard dose of iv ibuprofen and early versus expectant administration of iv ibuprofen have only been studied in two trials. Ibuprofen is as effective as indomethacin in closing a PDA and reduces the risk of NEC and transient renal insufficiency. Given the reduction in NEC ibuprofen currently appears to be the drug of choice. Oro-gastric administration of ibuprofen appears at least as effective as iv administration. Too few patients have been enrolled in studies assessing the effectiveness of a high dose of ibuprofen versus the standard dose and early versus expectant administration of ibuprofen to make recommendations. Studies are needed to evaluate the effect of ibuprofen compared with indomethacin treatment on longer-term outcomes in infants with PDA.
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