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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Oct;175(4 Pt 1):834-7.

Oral terbutaline after parenteral tocolysis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Tennessee, Memphis, USA.



Our purpose was to determine whether oral terbutaline, used after successful intravenous tocolysis, will prolong pregnancy and prevent recurrent preterm labor.


After successful intravenous tocolysis, 203 women with preterm labor at 24 weeks' to 34 weeks 6 days' gestation were randomized to terbutaline (5 mg orally, every 4 hours) or placebo until 37 weeks' gestation. Women with recurrent preterm labor were treated with intravenous magnesium sulfate; if tocolysis was successful, they continued with the initial study medication. The primary outcome was the percentage delivered of their infants within 1 week of beginning oral tocolytic therapy. Latency, recurrent preterm labor, and maternal and neonatal outcomes were also assessed.


Pregnancy outcome data were available in 200 women. There were no differences seen between the two groups in the incidence of delivery at 1 week (18% vs 24%, 95% confidence interval 0.44 to 1.29). In addition, there were no differences regarding median latency, mean gestational age at delivery, or the incidence of recurrent preterm labor (20% vs 16%, 95% confidence interval 0.64 to 2.71). Post hoc evaluation of 96 women enrolled before 32 weeks' gestation suggested pregnancy prolongation with maintenance oral terbutaline (p < 0.01).


Maintenance oral terbutaline therapy initiated at 24 weeks' to 34 weeks 6 days' gestation after successful parenteral tocolysis is not associated with pregnancy prolongation or a reduction in the incidence of recurrent preterm labor.

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