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Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 1995;22(3):204-11.

Antenatal ambroxol usage in the prevention of infant respiratory distress syndrome. Beneficial and adverse effects.

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Uludag University, Medical Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Bursa, Turkey.


A bromhexine metabolite ambroxol, is a relatively new promoter of fetal lung maturation. The data on its efficacy and side effects in humans are not yet as many as those of corticosteroids. We found that in 24 premature labor patients ambroxol reduced the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome when compared with the control group, consisting of 58 patients. There was no concomitant disorder in any patient that would have contributed to the fetal lung maturation. We also observed septic morbidity to be less frequent in the ambroxol group. Thyroid hormone levels were within normal range both in maternal and fetal circulation. There were no side effects attributable to the drug. Maternal liver and renal function test results did not differ significantly throughout the treatment.


At the clinics of Uludag University Medical Faculty's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Bursa, Turkey, clinicians compared data on 24 premature infants whose mothers had received oral ambroxol (1300 mg/day until delivery) with data on 58 premature infants whose mothers did not receive ambroxol to determine whether or not ambroxol reduced infant respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) by promoting fetal lung maturation. RDS occurred in 8% of the infants in the ambroxol group compared to 10% in the control group. The only RDS case to survive had received ambroxol. Sepsis was more common in the control group than the ambroxol group (13% vs. 4%). None of the infants had any concomitant disorder that would have contributed to fetal lung maturation. Ambroxol did not significantly change maternal liver and renal function results. In infant and maternal cases, the blood thyroid hormone levels were within the normal range. None of the mothers in either group developed a puerperal infection. Ambroxol did not cause any significant maternal or infant side effects. These findings suggest that ambroxol may prevent RDS and sepsis. Larger study groups and studies of groups with hypertension, diabetes, and multiple gestations are needed to determine whether ambroxol is a valuable alternative to steroids for prevention of RDS.

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