What is the role of pharmacologic therapy for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Pharmacologic therapy for necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) includes agents to treat the developing disease and those to provide supportive and symptomatic relief.

As previously mentioned, placement of a central venous catheter for administration of pressors, fluids, antibiotics, and blood products is prudent because severely affected patients often have complications that include sepsis, shock, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

The initial course of treatment in stage I or II NEC consists of stopping enteral feedings, performing nasogastric decompression, and initiating broad-spectrum antibiotics. Historically, antibiotic coverage has consisted of ampicillin, gentamicin, and either clindamycin or metronidazole, although the specific regimen used should be tailored to the most common nosocomial organisms found in the particular neonatal intensive care unit. Probiotics are emerging as a possible preventive therapy. [4, 41]

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