Terbutaline: Can it prevent preterm labor?

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Terbutaline: Can it prevent preterm labor?

Question

Can beta-mimetic therapy help prevent preterm labor?

Rosa
Italy

Answer

There is no evidence that beta-mimetic drugs, such as terbutaline and ritodrine, prevent preterm birth. However, beta-mimetics are effective in temporarily reducing or stopping contractions in women who are having preterm labor.

Beta-mimetics are best used to delay delivery long enough — usually 24 to 48 hours — to allow treatment with corticosteroids to speed fetal lung development. Beyond that use, it isn't clear that the benefits of beta-mimetics outweigh the potential risks for the mother. Adverse effects from beta-mimetic drugs may include fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Last Updated: 03/28/2006
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