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Medical News & Perspectives
December 8, 2010

Consensus Panel Discourages Routine Use of Nitric Oxide in Premature Infants

JAMA. 2010;304(22):2466. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1763

Inhaled nitric oxide therapy should not be used routinely to treat infants born at or before 34 weeks of gestation, according to an independent consensus panel appointed by the National Institutes of Health.

Inhaled nitric oxide therapy has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension in term or near-term infants. Based on this use, some scientists have launched clinical trials of inhaled nitric oxide therapy in infants born before 34 weeks of gestation who have underdeveloped lungs, and some hospitals have begun using the treatment off-label in this population, explained F. Sessions Cole, MD, chair of the panel and director of the Division of Newborn Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, during a press briefing. To assess such use, the panel reviewed 14 randomized controlled trials.