A Prospective, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Penicillin in Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes

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OBJECTIVEPreterm premature rupture of the fetal membranes is common and frequently results in infectious complications. A prospective, randomized, controlled trial of penicillin versus placebo in preterm premature rupture of membranes is reported. The aim of the study was to determine if prophylactic antibiotics after preterm premature rupture of membranes would reduce infectious complications in the mother or neonate.STUDY DESIGNPatients with preterm premature rupture of membranes between 21 and 37 weeks' gestation were randomized into a penicillin group that received 1 million units of benzylpenicillin intravenously every 4 hours followed by 250 mg of potassium phenoxymethyl penicillin (Pen-Vee K, Wyeth-Ayerst) orally twice daily or a placebo group before delivery. Latency period, infectious complications, and neonatal outcomes were studied.RESULTSPatients with preterm premature rupture of membranes who received prophylactic penicillin had fewer infectious complications, including intraamniotic infection and postpartum endometritis (4 vs 11, p < 0.03), without adverse effects on the mother or fetus.CONCLUSIONProphylactic penicillin in patients with preterm premature rupture of membranes reduces maternal infectious complications without adversely affecting the mother or newborn. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:516-21.)

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