Study protocol: safety and efficacy of propranolol 0.2% eye drops in newborns with a precocious stage of retinopathy of prematurity (DROP-ROP-0.2%): a multicenter, open-label, single arm, phase II trial

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) still represents one of the leading causes of visual impairment in childhood. Systemic propranolol has proven to be effective in reducing ROP progression in preterm newborns, although safety was not sufficiently guaranteed. On the contrary, topical treatment with propranolol eye micro-drops at a concentration of 0.1% had an optimal safety profile in preterm newborns with ROP, but was not sufficiently effective in reducing the disease progression if administered at an advanced stage (during stage 2). The aim of the present protocol is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of propranolol 0.2% eye micro-drops in preterm newborns at a more precocious stage of ROP (stage 1).

A multicenter, open-label, phase II, clinical trial, planned according to the Simon optimal two-stage design, will be performed to analyze the safety and efficacy of propranolol 0.2% eye micro-drops in preterm newborns with stage 1 ROP.

Propranolol eye micro-drops could represent an ideal strategy in counteracting ROP, because it is definitely safer than oral administration, inexpensive and an easily affordable treatment. Establishing the optimal dosage and treatment schedule is to date a crucial issue.

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