By: Lewis First, MD, MS; Editor-in-Chief
We certainly see preterm infants being helped in evacuating meconium or in relieving abdominal distension due to retention of stool with the use of a glycerin suppository or enema. So how effective are they—and are there any adverse effects we should know about?
Livingston et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0143) have performed a meta-analysis of all glycerin suppository and/or enema studies. Outcome measures reported include earlier passage of stool, easier transition to enteral feeds, as well as complications like bleeding and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and mortality. So what does the systematic review of these studies show? While some indicators might suggest the benefits of this medication, others do not—and there is even the suggestion that use of a glycerin suppository may increase risk of NEC in preterm infants.
Take a hard look at this study, and hopefully you’ll find that with or without the use of glycerin, when it comes to stooling patterns in preterm infants, everything will come out fine in the end.