Antenatal exposure to betamethasone: psychological functioning and health related quality of life 31 years after inclusion in randomised controlled trialBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.38576.494363.E0 (Published 22 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:665
- Stuart R Dalziel, research fellow1,
- Vanessa K Lim, research fellow2,
- Anthony Lambert, senior lecturer2,
- Dianne McCarthy, professor2,
- Varsha Parag, biostatistician1,
- Anthony Rodgers, director1,
- Jane E Harding, professor ()3
- 1 Clinical Trials Research Unit, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand
- 2 Department of Psychology, University of Auckland
- 3 Liggins Institute, University of Auckland
- Correspondence to: J E Harding
- Accepted 10 August 2005
Objectives To determine if antenatal exposure to betamethasone for the prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome alters psychological functioning and health related quality of life in adulthood.
Design Follow-up of the first and largest double blind, placebo controlled, randomised trial of a single course of antenatal betamethasone for the prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
Setting Tertiary obstetric hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.
Participants 192 adult offspring, mean age 31 years, of mothers who took part in a randomised controlled trial of antenatal betamethasone for the prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (87 exposed to betamethasone and 105 exposed to placebo).
Interventions Mothers received two doses of betamethasone or placebo 24 hours apart.
Main outcome measures Cognitive functioning assessed with Wechsler abbreviated scale of intelligence; working memory and attention assessed with Benton visual retention test, paced auditory serial addition test, and Brown attention deficit disorder scale; psychiatric morbidity assessed with Beck depression inventory II, state-trait anxiety inventory, and schizotypy traits questionnaire; handedness assessed with Edinburgh handedness inventory; health related quality of life assessed with short form 36 health survey.
Results No differences were found between groups exposed to betamethasone and placebo in cognitive functioning, working memory and attention, psychiatric morbidity, handedness, or health related quality of life.
Conclusions Prenatal exposure to a single course of betamethasone does not alter cognitive functioning, working memory and attention, psychiatric morbidity, handedness, or health related quality of life in adulthood. Obstetricians should continue to use a single course of antenatal betamethasone for the prevention of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
Contributors SRD, AL, DMcC, AR, and JEH conceived the study. VKL collected the data. SRD, VP, and JEH did the statistical analysis. SRD, VKL, AL, DMcC, VP, AR, and JEH wrote the manuscript. SRD and JEH are guarantors.
Funding Auckland Medical Research Foundation, Health Research Council of New Zealand, and New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. The study sponsors had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, the writing of the paper, or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethical approval The Auckland Regional Ethics Committee approved this follow-up study.
- Accepted 10 August 2005