Study designs of evaluations included in the review
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible for inclusion.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of any dose (low or antimicrobial), route (oral or intravenous) or mode of administration (prophylactic or rescue) of erythromycin as a prokinetic agent were eligible for inclusion. All of the included studies compared erythromycin with placebo, but the studies used erythromycin in varying doses, including low dose (3 to 12 mg/kg per day) and antimicrobial (12 to 15 mg/kg every 6 to 8 hours), and for varying time period (until full enteral feeds or one week after, or for 7 to 14 days). The studies used different feeding protocols.
Participants included in the review
Studies of pre-term neonates with gestation of 37 weeks or less were eligible for inclusion. The mean gestational age in the included studies ranged from 27.1 to 30 weeks. The studies used different definitions for feed intolerance.
Outcomes assessed in the review
The primary review outcome was the time to reach a full enteral feed of 150 mL/kg per day. The secondary outcomes were erythromycin-related adverse effects, duration of total parenteral nutrition, duration of hospital stay, weight at discharge from hospital, and necrotising enterocolits of stage 2 or worse.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how the papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.