The Use of Glycerin Suppositories to Reduce Hyperbilirubinemia in Premature Infants Requiring Phototherapy

Glycerin Suppositories to Reduce Jaundice in Premature Infants

Sponsors

Lead sponsor: University of Rochester

Source University of Rochester
Brief Summary

The purpose of this study is to find out if giving glycerin suppositories will help decrease the length of time premature infants need phototherapy.

The investigators hypothesize that glycerin suppositories (initiated along with phototherapy) will have no effect on reducing duration of phototherapy in premature infants with jaundice.

Detailed Description

Neonatal jaundice is one of the most common clinical problems in the neonatal period (Maisels). Physiologic hyperbilirubinemia is usually benign and transient in nature. Bilirubin overproduction, delayed hepatic clearance, and increased enterohepatic circulation of bilirubin all contribute to neonatal jaundice (Bader). Previous studies have shown that delayed meconium evacuation might be an important contributing factor in the development and persistence of neonatal jaundice (Rosta and Porto). Once conjugated bilirubin is excreted from the liver to the small intestine, it is often deconjugated in the presence of alkaline media and beta-glucorinase enzymes which are present in abundance in premature infants. Once deconjugated, unconjugated bilirubin is reabsorbed leading to entero-hepatic circulation, which plays a significant role in the development on neonatal jaundice.

Previous studies have shown that early meconium evacuation was associated with lower total serum bilirubin levels and decreased risk for clinically significant neonatal jaundice (Jirsova, DeCarvalho, Boyer, Gourley, Salariya and Gourley). Other studies in healthy term neonates have shown no benefit from rectal glycerin in reducing peak serum bilirubin levels. Bader et al performed a prospective study to evaluate the general effect of glycerin suppository administration in reducing total serum bilirubin levels in healthy term neonates. Glycerin suppositories were given immediately after birth and every 4 hours thereafter, until evacuation of first stool. The suppositories had no effect on mean total serum bilirubin levels at 48 hours of age. It was concluded that glycerin suppositories should not be routinely recommended as a means for reducing the severity of neonatal jaundice. However, it was found that in a subgroup of male infants with blood group type A there were significantly lower mean total serum bilirubin levels after induction of earlier meconium evacuation with glycerin suppositories. Weisman et al performed a similar prospective study in healthy term neonates and found that giving glycerin suppositories does hasten the passage of meconium and transitional stool; however, there was no effect on peak serum bilirubin levels during the first 3 days of life and no effect on need for phototherapy. Chen et al described a prospective, randomized controlled trial with two groups of healthy term neonates. The experimental group received glycerin enemas at 30 minutes and 12 hours of life. Bilirubin levels were followed for the first 7 days of life. The intervention had no effect on peak serum bilirubin levels or serum bilirubin levels in the first 7 days of life.

No data exist on the use of glycerin suppositories in premature neonates, although its use is a common practice to increase meconium clearance and stooling in the case of hyperbilirubinemia. However, it may not be a justified practice, based on data for full-term infants. Experts argue that premature neonates may have upward of 25% more enterohepatic circulation than full-term neonates (S. Amin, personal communication). Therefore, because premature neonates have the potential to recirculate bilirubin, increasing stool frequency through schedule glycerin suppositories might play a therapeutic role in the management of hyperbilirubinemia in this population.

It is a common practice in our unit to provide glycerin suppositories every 8 hours to infants under phototherapy in an attempt to more rapidly reduce bilirubin levels by decreasing enterohepatic circulation of unconjugated bilirubin. This practice is not evidence-based, nor is it standard practice in many NICUs throughout the country. Glycerin suppositories are not without risk. They can lead to rectal fissures and tears, bloody stools and unnecessary vagal stimulation.

If administration of glycerin shaves decreases length of phototherapy to a clinically significant extent, there may be improved success with feedings including breastfeeding, improved infant-parent bonding, shortened length of stay and overall increased family satisfaction. However, if glycerin suppositories are not shown to reduce duration of phototherapy, reduce peak total serum bilirubin (TSB) levels, reduce the number of TSB levels drawn and increase the rate of decline of hyperbilirubinemia, then a potentially useless therapy with potential for untoward side effects may be avoided.

Overall Status Completed
Start Date July 2012
Completion Date September 2013
Primary Completion Date September 2013
Phase N/A
Study Type Interventional
Primary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Total Number of Hours of Required Phototherapy from time of enrollment to time of discharge, for a maximum of 10 weeks
Secondary Outcome
Measure Time Frame
Number of Episodes of Repeat Phototherapy from time of enrollment to time of discharge, for a maximum of 10 weeks
Peak Total Serum Bilirubin Level from time of enrollment to time of discharge every 12 hours while under phototherapy, for a maximum of 10 weeks
Rate of Decline in Bilirubin Levels (mg/dL/hr) from time of enrollment to time of discharge, for a maximum of 10 weeks
Length of Initial Round of Phototherapy from time of enrollment to time of discharge, for a maximum of 10 weeks
Enrollment 79
Condition
Intervention

Intervention type: Procedure

Intervention name: Phototherapy

Description: Light therapy is used to treat cases of neonatal jaundice through the isomerization of the bilirubin and consequently transformation into compounds that the newborn can excrete via urine and stools.

Other name: Bili light

Intervention type: Drug

Intervention name: glycerin suppository

Description: Promotes stooling through rectal stimulation and softening of stool. Given every 8 hours rectally. A pediatric glycerin suppository is 1.2 grams. All infants in this study arm will receive our standard dose of glycerin suppository which is 0.25 of the pediatric suppository or 0.3 grams.

Arm group label: Glycerin Suppository

Other name: glycerin shave

Eligibility

Criteria:

Inclusion Criteria:

1. Baby born between 30 to 34 6/7 weeks gestational age (GA) at birth and admitted to NICU

2. Baby with physiologic hyperbilirubinemia requiring phototherapy by current NICU criteria.

3. Parental permission.

Exclusion Criteria:

1. Babies less than 30 weeks GA or greater than 34 6/7 weeks GA

2. Non-physiologic hyperbilirubinemia: (1) positive Coombs test and (2) hematocrit < 5th percentile for GA (see Jopling J, Henry E, Wiedmeier SE, Christensen RD, Reference. Ranges for Hematocrit and Blood Hemoglobin Concentration During the Neonatal Period: Data From a Multihospital Health Care System. Pediatrics 2009; 123(2):e333 -e337.) and (3) ABO or Rh incompatibility.

3. Any infant with bilirubin level within 2 mg/dL of exchange transfusion.

4. Any infant who has phototherapy started prior to reaching light level (prophylactic)

5. Baby with any GI abnormalities such as NEC, intestinal perforation, gastroschisis, omphalocele, malrotation and or volvulus, duodenal atresia, intestinal strictures/adhesions, imperforate anus.

6. Any infant begun on triple or greater phototherapy at time of initiation of treatment.

7. Any infant judged by the attending physician to be placed at increased risk by study participation.

Gender: All

Minimum age: 30 Weeks

Maximum age: 35 Weeks

Healthy volunteers: Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Overall Official
Last Name Role Affiliation
Meggan Butler-O'Hara, RN, MSN, PNP Principal Investigator University of Rochester
Location
facility University of Rochester Medical Center NICU
Location Countries

United States

Verification Date

November 2015

Responsible Party

Responsible party type: Principal Investigator

Investigator affiliation: University of Rochester

Investigator full name: Carl D'Angio

Investigator title: Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Neonatology and Medical Humanities; Director, Neonatal Clinical Research; Director, Pediatric Clinical Research Office

Keywords
Has Expanded Access No
Condition Browse
Number Of Arms 2
Arm Group

Arm group label: Glycerin Suppository

Arm group type: Active Comparator

Description: Based on our institution's protocol, infant will receive a glycerin shave within one hour of initiation of phototherapy and then every eight hours while under phototherapy. Subjects will be block randomized (varying block sizes of 2 to 8). Babies in both groups will be fed according to NICU standard birth weight protocols. Stratified enrollment will occur with 2 separate groups: Infants who are NPO (< 20 mL/kg/day of fluids enterally at the time of therapy) vs. Those being enterally fed at least 20 mL/kg/day of total fluids at the time of therapy.

Arm group label: No Glycerin Suppository

Arm group type: Experimental

Description: Infants will receive no scheduled glycerin suppositories, while under phototherapy (unless otherwise directed by attending physician). Subjects will be block randomized (varying block sizes of 2 to 8). Babies in both groups will be fed according to NICU standard birth weight protocols. Stratified enrollment will occur with 2 separate groups: Infants who are NPO (< 20 mL/kg/day of fluids enterally at the time of therapy) vs. Those being enterally fed at least 20 mL/kg/day of total fluids at the time of therapy.

Study Design Info

Allocation: Randomized

Intervention model: Parallel Assignment

Primary purpose: Treatment

Masking: Triple (Participant, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)

Source: ClinicalTrials.gov