Objective: To investigate whether postnatal allopurinol would reduce free radical induced reperfusion/reoxygenation injury of the brain in severely asphyxiated neonates.
Method: In an interim analysis of a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study, 32 severely asphyxiated infants were given allopurinol or a vehicle within four hours of birth.
Results: The analysis showed an unaltered (high) mortality and morbidity in the infants treated with allopurinol.
Conclusion: Allopurinol treatment started postnatally was too late to reduce the early reperfusion induced free radical surge. Allopurinol administration to the fetus with (imminent) hypoxia via the mother during labour may be more effective in reducing free radical induced post-asphyxial brain damage.
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Published Online First 20 January 2006
Competing interests: none declared
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