Originally posted by DJWILLIS:
Does anyone have any information on the steroid Betamethasone causing any developmental problems in infants that were preterm and received Betamethasone or even in infants that received the steroid and made it to term? One mother (an L&D nurse) believes her daughter's early puberty may have been a result of the steroid. Does anyone know any
other developmental side effects?
Hello, my name is Geoff and I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying nursing. I have done some research about your question for a class assignment and hope that the information will help.
Betamethasone is a glucocorticoid used to induce pulmonary maturation in preterm babies and reduce the incidence of respiratory distress (Olds, London, & Ladewig, 2000). The mechanism for this action is still unclear. Additionally, betamethasone increases the size of the air sacs in the lungs (alveoli) and improves oxygen exchange (Olds et al, 2000). Despite the positive effects of this drug, there are several side effects with its use.
Current research suggests that most of the side effects occur in utero. Notmensch et al found that betamethasone "induces profound, albeit transient, suppression of fetal breathing, limb & trunk movements, resulting in lowered biophysica profile scores." The biophysical profile is used to assess a babies status in the womb and includes breathing movement, body movement, tone, amniotic fluid volume and fetal heart rate.
A review of research found that no known permanent developmental side effects of betamethasone administration to a preterm child exist. Also, I did not find any information that tied premature puberty to betamethasone.
The internet is a great resource to help you find more information. Under the infoseek.go.com search engine I found many "hits" when I entered "betamethasone" as a search word. The articles referenced on this page contain much of the same information I found in the scholarly journals at the university.
Best of luck on your search.
Notmensch, S., Liberati, M., Celentino, C., Efrat, Z., Bar-Hava, I., Kovo, M., Golan, A., Monavski, G. & Ben-Rafael, Z. The effect of betamethasone on fetal biophysical activities and doppler velocimetry of umbilical and middle cerebral arteries. Acta Obstetricia et Gyencologia Scandinavia, 78 (9), 768-73.
Olds, S., London, M. & Ladewig, P. (2000). Maternal-newborn nursing: A family and community-based approach (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
[This message has been edited by jeffe (edited February 27, 2000).]