Antibiotic regimens for neonatal sepsis - a protocol for a systematic review with meta-analysis

17 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among neonates and infants. Antibiotics are a central part of the first line treatment for sepsis in neonatal intensive care units worldwide. However, the evidence on the clinical effects of the commonly used antibiotic regimens for sepsis in neonates remains scarce. This systematic review aims to assess the efficacy and harms of antibiotic regimens for neonatal sepsis.

METHODS: Electronic searches will be conducted in MEDLINE, Embase, The Cochrane Library, CINAHL, ZETOC and clinical trial registries ( and ISRCTN). We will include randomised controlled trials of different antibiotic regimens for sepsis of neonates and infants. Eligible interventions will be any antibiotic regimen. Two reviewers will independently screen, select, and extract data. The methodological quality of individual studies will be appraised following Cochrane methodology. Primary outcomes will be 'all-cause mortality' and 'serious adverse events'. Secondary outcomes will be 'need for respiratory support', 'need for circulatory support', 'neurodevelopmental impairment', ototoxicity, nephrotoxicity and necrotizing enterocolitis. We plan to perform a meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis.

DISCUSSION: This is the study protocol for a systematic review on the effects of different antibiotic regimens for neonatal sepsis. The results of this systematic review intent to adequately inform stakeholders or health care professionals in the field of neonatal sepsis, and to aid appropriate development of treatment guidelines.


Original languageEnglish
Article number306
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)306
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2019


  • Antibiotics
  • Infants
  • Neonates
  • Sepsis
  • Septic shock
  • Systematic review


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