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J Pediatr. 1977 Mar;90(3):467-72.

Efficacy of caffeine in treatment of apnea in the low-birth-weight infant.


The efficacy of caffeine citrate in the management of apnea in the newborn infant was evaluated. Caffeine citrate was given to 18 preterm neonates with recurrent apneic spells. Mean (+/- SE) birth weight and gestational age were 1,065.0 +/- 71.9 gm and 27.5 +/- 0.6 weeks, respectively. Mean age at onset of apnea and at initiation of caffeine treatment was 6.5 +/- 3.7 days and 18.2 +/- 4.9 days, respectively. Caffeine citrate was administered with a loading dose of 20 mg/kg intravenously followed within two to three days by 5 to 10 mg/kg once or twice daily. All infants except one showed a significant decrease in the frequency of apneic episodes associated with caffeine therapy. Mean frequencies of apneic spells were 13.6 +/- 2.5 and 2.1 +/- 0.6 apnea per day before and after initiation of caffeine treatment, respectively. Respiratory rate was increased, and blood [h]+ion concentration and Pco2 were decreased. The data suggest that caffeine is an effective pharmacologic respirogenic agent in the preterm infant with apnea.

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