Sixty infants with birth-weights less than 1500 g and who were less than 6 h old were randomly assigned to a group given phenobarbitone or a control group. Intravenous phenobarbitone was given in doses sufficient to achieve anticonvulsant serum levels within 12-18 h. Maintenance therapy was continued for one week. Periventricular/intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH) occurred in 133% (4/30) of the phenobarbitone group and in 46.7% (14/30) of the control group. The occurrence of risk factors related to IVH was similar in the two groups. Phenobarbitone may reduce the incidence of IVH in small preterm infants.
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