Influence of erythromycin on establishment of feeding in preterm infants: observations from a randomised controlled trial

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To determine the effect of erythromycin on the establishment of enteral feeding in ventilated infants <31 weeks gestation.


Erythromycin was randomly allocated as an antimicrobial treatment for the first 7 days of life in 76 infants: 35 received erythromycin and 41 acted as controls. Feed toleration, time taken to establish full enteral feeding, vomiting, prescription of glycerine suppositories and occurrence of necrotising enterocolitis were recorded.


There were no significant differences between the groups for any of the outcomes. The infants treated with erythromycin reached full feeding at a median (quartile) age of 8 (5-12) days compared with 9 (6-14) days for controls.


Intravenous erythromycin in antimicrobial doses is unlikely to benefit the introduction of feeding in preterm infants.

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