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1.  Adverse drug reactions to tocolytic treatment for preterm labour: prospective cohort study 
Objective To evaluate the incidence of serious maternal complications after the use of various tocolytic drugs for the treatment of preterm labour in routine clinical situations.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting 28 hospitals in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Participants 1920 consecutive women treated with tocolytics for threatened preterm labour.
Main outcome measures Maternal adverse events (those suspected of being causally related to treatment were considered adverse drug reactions) leading to cessation of treatment.
Results An independent panel evaluated the recorded adverse events, without knowledge of the type of tocolytic used. Of the 1920 women treated with tocolytics, 1327 received a single course of treatment (69.1%), 282 sequential courses (14.7%), and 311 combined courses (16.2%). Adverse drug reactions were categorised as serious or mild in 14 cases each. The overall incidence of serious adverse drug reaction was 0.7%. Compared with atosiban, the relative risk of an adverse drug reaction for single treatment with a β adrenoceptor agonist was 22.0 (95% confidence interval 3.6 to 138.0) and for single treatment with a calcium antagonist was 12 (1.9 to 69). Multiple drug tocolysis led to five serious adverse drug reactions (1.6%). Multiple gestation, preterm rupture of membranes, and comorbidity were not independent risk factors for adverse drug reactions.
Conclusions The use of β adrenoceptor agonists or multiple tocolytics for preventing preterm birth is associated with a high incidence of serious adverse drug reactions. Indometacin and atosiban were the only drugs not associated with serious adverse drug reactions. A direct comparison of the effectiveness of nifedipine and atosiban in postponing preterm delivery is needed.
doi:10.1136/bmj.b744
PMCID: PMC2654772  PMID: 19264820
2.  A randomised clinical trial on cardiotocography plus fetal blood sampling versus cardiotocography plus ST-analysis of the fetal electrocardiogram (STAN®) for intrapartum monitoring 
Background
Cardiotocography (CTG) is worldwide the method for fetal surveillance during labour. However, CTG alone shows many false positive test results and without fetal blood sampling (FBS), it results in an increase in operative deliveries without improvement of fetal outcome. FBS requires additional expertise, is invasive and has often to be repeated during labour. Two clinical trials have shown that a combination of CTG and ST-analysis of the fetal electrocardiogram (ECG) reduces the rates of metabolic acidosis and instrumental delivery. However, in both trials FBS was still performed in the ST-analysis arm, and it is therefore still unknown if the observed results were indeed due to the ST-analysis or to the use of FBS in combination with ST-analysis.
Methods/Design
We aim to evaluate the effectiveness of non-invasive monitoring (CTG + ST-analysis) as compared to normal care (CTG + FBS), in a multicentre randomised clinical trial setting. Secondary aims are: 1) to judge whether ST-analysis of fetal electrocardiogram can significantly decrease frequency of performance of FBS or even replace it; 2) perform a cost analysis to establish the economic impact of the two treatment options.
Women in labour with a gestational age ≥ 36 weeks and an indication for CTG-monitoring can be included in the trial.
Eligible women will be randomised for fetal surveillance with CTG and, if necessary, FBS or CTG combined with ST-analysis of the fetal ECG.
The primary outcome of the study is the incidence of serious metabolic acidosis (defined as pH < 7.05 and Bdecf > 12 mmol/L in the umbilical cord artery). Secondary outcome measures are: instrumental delivery, neonatal outcome (Apgar score, admission to a neonatal ward), incidence of performance of FBS in both arms and cost-effectiveness of both monitoring strategies across hospitals.
The analysis will follow the intention to treat principle. The incidence of metabolic acidosis will be compared across both groups. Assuming a reduction of metabolic acidosis from 3.5% to 2.1 %, using a two-sided test with an alpha of 0.05 and a power of 0.80, in favour of CTG plus ST-analysis, about 5100 women have to be randomised. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of CTG and ST-analysis as compared to CTG and FBS will be studied.
Discussion
This study will provide data about the use of intrapartum ST-analysis with a strict protocol for performance of FBS to limit its incidence. We aim to clarify to what extent intrapartum ST-analysis can be used without the performance of FBS and in which cases FBS is still needed.
Trial Registration Number
ISRCTN95732366
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-7-13
PMCID: PMC1976105  PMID: 17655764

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