BACKGROUND - We evaluated the clinical effectiveness of variable courses of paracetamol on patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closure and examined its effect on the in vitro term and preterm murine ductus arteriosus (DA).
METHODS - Neonates received one of the following three paracetamol regimens: short course of oral paracetamol (SCOP), long course of oral paracetamol (LCOP), and intravenous paracetamol (IVP) for 2-6 d. Pressure myography was used to examine changes in vasomotor tone of the preterm and term mouse DA in response to paracetamol or indomethacin. Their effect on prostaglandin synthesis by DA explants was measured by mass spectroscopy.
RESULTS - Twenty-one preterm infants were included. No changes in PDA hemodynamics were seen in SCOP infants (n = 5). The PDA became less significant and eventually closed in six LCOP infants (n = 7). PDA closure was achieved in eight IVP infants (n = 9). On pressure myograph, paracetamol induced a concentration-dependent constriction of the term mouse DA, up to 30% of baseline (P < 0.01), but required >1 µmol/l. Indomethacin induced greater DA constriction and suppression of prostaglandin synthesis (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION - The clinical efficacy of paracetamol on PDA closure may depend on the duration of treatment and the mode of administration. Paracetamol is less potent than indomethacin for constriction of the mouse DA in vitro.