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Reductive effect of ursodeoxycholic acid on bilirubin levels in neonates on phototherapy

Authors Ughasoro MD, Adimorah GN, Chukwudi NK, Nnakenyi ID, Iloh KK, Udemba CE

Received 4 March 2019

Accepted for publication 11 June 2019

Published 29 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 349—354


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Anastasios Koulaouzidis

Maduka Donatus Ughasoro,1 Gilbert Nwadiaka Adimorah,1 Ndubuisi Kennedy Chukwudi,2 Ifeyinwa Dorothy Nnakenyi,3 Kenechukwu Kaosisochukwu Iloh,1 Charles Ejike Udemba4

1Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria; 2Department of Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria; 3Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria; 4Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Background: Phototherapy is paramount in the management of high total serum bilirubin (TSB). Whether its effectiveness can be improved with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has not been evaluated among newborns of African descent.
Methods: A double-blind-controlled study was used to evaluate the effect of UDCA on the management of high TSB in neonates. Recruited neonates were categorized into the experimental group (given UDCA plus phototherapy) and the control group (phototherapy and plain syrup), and their TSB and conjugated bilirubin levels were measured. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 20. Statistical significance was set at a p-value of <0.05.
Results: The mean (SD) percentage reductions in TSB after 24 hrs were 40.73% (18.1) and 10.21% (7.1) in the experimental and control groups, respectively, and the difference was statistically significant (p=0.001). The mean (SD) durations on therapy were 3.0 days (0.58) in the experimental group and 5.5 days (1.35) in the control group (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Phototherapy is still effective in the management of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, but inclusion of UDCA accentuates the reductive effect of phototherapy on the TSB in neonates, reducing the duration of treatment and in-patient care.

Keywords: neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, phototherapy, ursodeoxycholic acid

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