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Randomised controlled trial of cisapride in preterm infants
  1. R J McClure,
  2. J H Kristensen,
  3. A Grauaug
  1. Department of Newborn Services, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Perth, Western Australia
  1. Dr RJ McClure, Neonatal Unit, Rosie Hospital, Addenbrooke’s NHS Hospital Trust Cambridge CB2 2SW.


AIM To determine the effect of cisapride on gastrointestinal motility in preterm infants.

METHODS Cisapride (0.2 mg/kg, 8 hourly ) or placebo was given first for seven days in a double blind randomised crossover study of 10 preterm infants. Gastrointestinal motility was assessed on day 3 of each treatment. The half gastric emptying time (GET½) was determined by using ultrasonography to measure the decrease in the gastric antral cross sectional area after a feed. The whole gastrointestinal transit time (WGTT) was assessed by timing the transit of carmine red through the gut. Treatments were compared using the Wilcoxon matched pairs signed ranks test.

RESULTS Median (range) birthweight was 1200 (620, 1450) g and postconceptional age 33 (29, 34) weeks at recruitment. GET½ was significantly longer during cisapride treatment than during placebo; the median of the differences (95% confidence interval) was 19.2 (11, 30 minutes, p=0.008). WGTT was also longer during cisapride treatment, but the difference was not significant; the median of the differences was 11(−18, 52 hours, p=0.1).

CONCLUSIONS Cisapride delays gastric emptying and may delay WGTT in preterm infants. Its use to promote gastrointestinal motility in this group cannot be recommended.

  • cisapride
  • gastric emptying
  • gastrointestinal transit
  • gastrointestinal motility

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