A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of corticosteroids for hyperemesis due to pregnancy

Nicole P. Yost, Donald D. McIntire, Frank H. Wians, Susan M. Ramin, Jody A. Balko, Kenneth J. Leveno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy for which there is no proven pharmacological treatment, is the third leading cause for hospitalization during pregnancy. Corticosteroids are commonly used for the treatment of nausea and vomiting due to cancer chemotherapy-induced emesis and might prove useful in hyperemesis gravidarum. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 126 women who previously had not responded to outpatient therapy for hyperemesis gravidarum during the first half of pregnancy. Intravenous methylprednisolone (125 mg) was followed by an oral prednisone taper (40 mg for 1 day, 20 mg for 3 days, 10 mg for 3 days, 5 mg for 7 days) versus an identical-appearing placebo regimen. All women also received promethazine 25 mg and metoclopramide 10 mg intravenously every 6 hours for 24 hours, followed by the same regimen administered orally as needed until discharge. The primary study outcome was the number of women requiring rehospitalization for hyperemesis gravidarum. RESULTS: A total of 110 women delivered at our hospital and had pregnancy outcomes available for analysis; 56 were randomized to corticosteroids and 54 were administered placebo. Nineteen women in each study group required rehospitalization (34% versus 35%, P = .89, for corticosteroids versus placebo, respectively). CONCLUSION: The addition of parenteral and oral corticosteroids to the treatment of women with hyperemesis gravidarum did not reduce the need for rehospitalization later in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1250-1254
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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