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In the NICU - Medical Care


Babies in the neonatal unit often need medicines as part of their treatment.

Most medicines are given in liquid form into the mouth or into a feeding tube or through an IV line and are not painful. Some commonly prescribed medicines used for babies in the neonatal unit include:

These are medicines to treat pain and keep baby comfortable. 

Examples of analgesics used in the neonatal unit include: Morphine, Paracetamol, Fentanyl

These are used to treat infection. Antibiotics are started when the team looking after your baby thinks that your baby might have an infection. The medical team choose antibiotics, with the help of the microbiologist and the pharmacist.

Examples of antibiotics commonly used in the neonatal unit include: Benzylpenicillin, Gentamicin, Cefotaxime, Amoxicillin, Metronidazole, Flucloxacillin, Vancomycin, Meropenem

Is used to stimulate breathing in preterm babies, to treat apnoea of prematurity.

Inotropes are drugs that used to keep babies’ blood pressure at a normal level by improving how well the heart works.

Inotropes used in the neonatal unit include: Adrenaline, Dobutamine, Dopamine, Noradrenaline, Milrinone

These medications increase how much fluid comes out of baby in the form of urine. Sometimes diuretics can be used if there are kidney problems or if your baby is puffy. 

Diuretics used in the neonatal unit include: Furosemide, Spironolactone

This medication is given IV to babies with confirmed or suspected heart problems, to keep a duct in the heart open for the baby to safely travel to CHI at Crumlin

These are medications that keep baby relaxed.

Examples of sedatives used in the neonatal unit include: Midazolam

Sometimes steroids are used in babies who have chronic lung disease/bronchopulmonary dysplasia to help to improve how their lungs work.

Steroids can be given by mouth, IV or by a nebuliser.

Steroids used in the neonatal unit include: Dexamethasone, Budesonide

This medication is given into babies’ lungs to make breathing easier if they have RDS. Surfactant is given using a breathing tube.

These are used in the neonatal unit to meet increased needs for growth and development.

Newborn babies do not make their own vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for normal blood clotting and to stop bleeding. It is given to all babies as an injection after they are born, and this lasts them until they are old enough to make their own vitamin K.