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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Myo-Inositol Unlikely to Reduce Risk of Eye Condition in Preterm Infants

a baby drinks from his bottle

The vitamin-like substance myo-inositol does not appear to prevent a potentially blinding complication of preterm birth.

Photo: Majesticca/iStock

Contrary to results from earlier studies, the vitamin-like substance myo-inositol does not appear to prevent a potentially blinding complication of preterm birth and may even reduce rates of survival among preterm infants, suggests a study funded by NIH. The study, conducted by researchers in the Neonatal Research Network funded by NICHD, NEI and NCATS, appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The blinding complication, called retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), largely affects infants born before 32 weeks of pregnancy. It results from an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, the layer of tissue at the back of the eye that is sensitive to light. The researchers treated preterm infants born before the 28th week of pregnancy with myo-inositol, after previous studies of slightly older preterm infants suggested that the substance could reduce the chances of ROP.

After enrolling 638 of a planned 1,760 participants, the researchers suspended the study when they discovered tiny glass particles in less than 2 percent of the vials in 1 of 2 batches of myo-inositol. The particles resulted from delamination—the shedding of tiny glass flakes from the inside of the vials. These particles potentially could cause swelling or immune reactions at the injection site, although according to the Food and Drug Administration, there is no evidence that the particles have caused harm to date.

In the current study, researchers found no differences in outcomes between infants given myo-inositol from batch 1 or batch 2. An analysis of the study showed that 29 percent of infants receiving myo-inositol had either died or developed early-stage ROP, compared to 21 percent in the placebo group, which prompted the researchers to end the study.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Associate Editor: Carla Garnett

Staff Writers:

Eric Bock

Dana Talesnik

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