Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Mar 23;(3):CD010800. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010800.pub2.

Terbutaline pump maintenance therapy after threatened preterm labour for reducing adverse neonatal outcomes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, 2 Prannok, Bangkoknoi, Bangkok, Thailand, 10700.



After successful inhibition of threatened preterm labour women are at high risk of recurrent preterm labour. Terbutaline pump maintenance therapy has been used to reduce adverse neonatal outcomes. This review replaces an earlier Cochrane review, published in 2002, which is no longer being updated by the team.


To determine the effectiveness of terbutaline pump maintenance therapy after threatened preterm labour in reducing adverse neonatal outcomes.


We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (31 January 2014) and reference lists of retrieved studies.


Randomised controlled trials comparing terbutaline pump therapy with alternative therapy, placebo, or no therapy after arrest of threatened preterm labour.


Two review authors independently assessed the studies for inclusion and then extracted data as eligible for inclusion in qualitative and quantitative synthesis (meta-analysis).


Four studies were included with a total of 234 women randomised. The overall methodological quality of the included studies was mixed; two studies provided very little information on study methods, there was high sample attrition in one study and in three studies the risk of performance bias was high. We found no strong evidence that terbutaline maintenance therapy offered any advantages over saline placebo or oral terbutaline maintenance therapy in reducing adverse neonatal outcomes by prolonging pregnancy among women with arrested preterm labour. The mean difference (MD) for gestational age at birth was -0.14 weeks (95% confidence interval (CI) -1.66 to 1.38) for terbutaline pump therapy compared with saline placebo pump for two trials combined. One trial reported a risk ratio (RR) of 1.17 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.73) for preterm birth (less than 37 completed weeks) and a RR of 0.97 (95% CI 0.51 to 1.84) of very preterm birth (less than 34 completed weeks) for terbutaline pump compared with saline placebo pump. We found no evidence that terbutaline pump therapy was associated with statistically significant reductions in infant respiratory distress syndrome, or neonatal intensive care unit admission compared with placebo. Compared with oral terbutaline, we found no evidence that pump therapy increased the rate of therapy continuation, or reduced the rate of infant complications or maternal hospital re-admissions. One study suggested that pump therapy resulted in significantly increased weekly cost/woman, $580 versus $12.50 (P < 0.01). No data were reported on long-term infant outcomes.


We found no evidence that terbutaline pump maintenance therapy decreased adverse neonatal outcomes. Taken together with the lack of evidence of benefit, its substantial expense and the lack of information on the safety of the therapy do not support its use in the management of arrested preterm labour. Future use should only be in the context of well-conducted, adequately powered randomised controlled trials.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk