We are incredibly grateful to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for funding the SNACS (Single Dose Antenatal Corticosteroids) study and allowing us to investigate the optimal dose of antenatal steroids for premature babies! We want to extend an enormous THANK YOU to the team involved in the study, especially to our five parent partners and the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation (CPBF) whose insight and dedication were instrumental to getting SNACS to where it is today.
About SNACS (Single Dose Antenatal Corticosteroids)
Each year worldwide, 15 million babies are born early (before 37 weeks), including approximately 1 in 12 infants in Canada and 1 in 11 infants in Australia. Since 1972, standard double doses of steroids have been given to women deemed at increased risk of having an early birth, to enhance fetal organ maturation, in particular the lungs.
The current practice is to give women two doses of steroids, one dose of a 12 mg (11.4 mg in Australia) medication, Celestone (also called betamethasone), followed by a second 12 mg (or 11.4 mg) dose 24 hours later.
We have used these same doses for approximately 50 years. These are very high doses and studies to find the best dose have not yet been done.
Emerging research has raised concerns of possible harmful long-term effects following standard double doses of steroids, including impacts on the brain. To address this, we will be conducting an international randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the current double doses steroids to a single dose (and matching placebo).