Dextrose gel treatment does not impair subsequent feeding

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Abstract

Background

Dextrose gel is increasingly used as first-line treatment for neonatal hypoglycaemia. Treatment with 400 mg/kg previously has been reported to impair subsequent feeding. We sought to determine if the recommended dose of 200 mg/kg altered feeding.

Methods

Hypoglycaemic babies were randomised to 200 mg/kg dextrose gel or placebo and fed. Prefeed alertness, quality and duration of breast feeding, and the volume of formula taken were assessed on the next feeding.

Results

Prefeed alertness scores were similar in babies (n=211) treated with dextrose or placebo gel (124 episodes, OR=1.30 (95% CI 0.62 to 2.77), p=0.49). Breastfed babies were more likely to have good feeding scores after dextrose gel (160 episodes, OR=3.54 (95% CI 1.30 to 9.67), p=0.01) but similar breastfeeding duration (57 episodes, median (range) 20 (3–90) vs 25 (2–80) min, p=0.62). Formula volumes taken were also similar (24 episodes, median (range) 4.6 (2.2–11.3) vs 6.4 (2.0–8.9) mL/kg, p=0.30).

Conclusions

Treating hypoglycaemic babies with dextrose gel 200 mg/kg does not depress subsequent feeding and may improve breastfeeding quality.

Trial registration number

ACTRN 12608000623392.

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