The Pediatric Trials Network (PTN), with support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, is conducting an interventional study to examine the safety and efficacy of sildenafil in treating bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in premature infants.
BPD is a common chronic lung disease that can affect premature newborns, often leading to life-long medical problems, prolonged hospitalization, and even death. Approximately 17,500 U.S. infants develop BPD each year.
Sildenafil, which is approved for the treatment of pulmonary hypertension in adults, may help improve lung development and is increasingly being used off-label in premature infants with BPD. However, the efficacy and safety of sildenafil in premature infants at risk for BPD is currently unknown.
“Our hope is that this study benefits premature infants and their families by providing more information on the safest and most effective dose of sildenafil to treat this life-threatening condition,” said Dr. Matthew Laughon, principal investigator and neonatologist at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, N.C.
The study, Safety of Sildenafil in Premature Infants at Risk of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, draws on a previous safety study conducted by the PTN from 2013 to 2016. This study enrolled 34 infants of less than 28 weeks gestational age who were receiving sildenafil to treat BPD. Health care providers administered varying doses of sildenafil and collected plasma samples to determine the optimal starting dosing for sildenafil in premature infants.
The current study is expected to enroll approximately 120 infants and will be guided by dosing data from the previous phase 1 safety study. The first study site, Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., was activated Jan. 2 and is currently recruiting participants.