The effectiveness of antenatal corticosteroids to prevent neonatal lung disease in women at risk of preterm birth was established by systematic reviews. In addition, subgroup analyses suggested that treatment was most effective in babies born one to seven days after administration. This belief led to widespread use of repeated courses of corticosteroids in women who did not deliver within a week or two of initial treatment. However, the notion that effectiveness declines after seven days may be incorrect, as the analyses that it is based on are unreliable. Here, we discuss the methodological problems of these analyses and their relevance to current randomised controlled trials of repeated versus single courses
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