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Babies who take birth in 34 and 36 weeks of gestation which is the late preterm period are at risk of lung ailments.

A Drug That Prevents Lung Diseases in Preemies Also Reduces the Cost

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According to research done by the researchers and surgeons at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians, a drug meant to prevent respiratory ailments in preterm newborn babies lowers the costs.

This new study was published by the JAMA Network journal on March 11, 2019.

In this study, the researchers calculated the cost of healthcare services. They matched the data of 1,426 mother and infant pairs recorded in the previous clinical trial. These pairs were given one injection of the betamethasone drug. At the same time, 1,395 pair of mother and infant were not given the drug during the study.

During the clinical trial, the costs of healthcare services were estimated that include the respiratory treatments and drugs given to the newborns. It also includes maternal care, hospitalization, and other expenses within the first 72 hours of giving birth to a baby.

This analysis has figured out a difference according to which average cost of $4,681 (INR 3.2 lakh) occur when the pairs are given betamethasone drug. This cost was found to be significantly lower in comparison to the $5,379 (INR 3.7 lakh) which occurs to the patients who are not given this treatment.

Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, who led the clinical trial said, "Doctors have widely adopted this preventive strategy for mothers at risk of giving birth prematurely. But we didn't really know if it was cost-effective."

A previous study published in 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine on the drug has shown effectiveness in decreasing the lung ailments in newborn babies. According to the previous study, about 7 percent of babies in the U.S. are born prematurely.

As per the data of the previous study, the babies who take birth in 34 and 36 weeks of gestation which is the late preterm period are at risk of lung ailments. It has been reported that premature babies experience more respiratory problems than full-term babies.

As per the results of the clinical trial, women who are at the risk for preterm delivery are treated with a corticosteroid drug. This drug develops the lungs of a baby with reduced risk of serious respiratory problems. The previous study that was done to determine the cost-effectiveness of the strategy showed diverse results.

One of the researchers of the clinical trial has said that there are other highly effective options as well to prevent the respiratory issues in newbies but that can be very costly in the end. As per the analysis of researchers, corticosteroid therapy for pregnant women who are at a high risk of late preterm delivery is found to be both highly effective and cost friendly.

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