Pragmatic comparison of beta(2)-agonist side effects within the worldwide atosiban versus beta agonists study

Jerry Chan, Dominique Cabrol, Ingemar Ingemarsson, Karel Marsal, Jean-Marie Moutquin, Nicholas M. Fisk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (SciVal)


Objective: While beta(2)-agonists for the acute treatment of preterm labour unequivocally reduce the odds of delivery within 48 hand 7 days, they have been associated with substantial maternal and fetal side effects. We aimed to compare side effect profiles of beta(2)-agonist tocolytics. Study design: Pragmatic comparison of ritodrine, salbutamol and terbutaline from re-analysis of data obtained within three comparator arms of three simultaneous comparable randomised controlled trials of beta(2)-agonists against atosiban in 742 women in preterm labour. The prevalence of categoric side effects between treatment groups was analysed using a chi(2) test. The differences in continuous variables between treatment groups were analysed in analyses of covariance. Results: The prevalence of categoric side effects was similar with the three drugs, with the exception of the subjective symptom of palpitations (ritodrine 24.0%, terbutaline 9.3% and salbutamol 12.3%, P = 0.003). There were also some differences in maternal diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.001) and serum glucose levels (P < 0.001), although these were small (<3 mmHg and <= 2.8 mmol/L, respectively) and clinically unimportant. Conclusion: Side effects were common with all three drugs. Thus, choosing one beta(2)-agonist over the other to minimise side effects has little rationale, especially now that safer tocolytics are available. (C) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-141
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • preterm labour
  • side effects
  • tocolysis
  • beta-agonist


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