European journal of pediatrics

Indomethacin vs ibuprofen: comparison of efficacy in the setting of conservative therapeutic approach.

PMID 25344763


Indomethacin has been the mainstay for medical closure of patent ductus arteriosus. With its discontinuation, many units shifted to the use ibuprofen. We compared the therapeutic efficacy (successful closure, a priori defined as complete closure or >50% reduction in size) and the impact of the two drugs on neonatal morbidities. Two time epochs were analysed (IV indomethacin, January 2008 to November 2010, and IV ibuprofen lysine, November 2010 to September 2013). Demographic, clinical and echocardiographic data was compared. A total of 101 infants formed the study population, 58 (57.4%, indomethacin epoch) and 43 (42.6%, ibuprofen epoch). The gestational age, birth weight and postnatal age at initial treatment respectively were comparable [26 ± 1.8 vs 26.5 ± 1.9 weeks, 806 ± 183 vs 862 ± 234 g and median 12 (6, 17) vs 11 days (8, 18)]. Successful closure was significantly higher in the indomethacin group [26 (45%) vs 6 (14%), p < 0.01]. The incidence of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and discharge in oxygen was comparable. Four infants (all in the ibuprofen group) developed pulmonary hypertension; one required pulmonary vasodilator therapy. Posttreatment serum creatinine was significantly lower in the ibuprofen group. Mortality was higher during the indomethacin epoch. On univariate analysis, the choice of the drug and higher gestational age were associated with successful closure. Indomethacin was more efficacious for ductal closure although did not impact outcomes. Use of staging schema may help understand 'need to treat' and refine therapy.