A single-blind controlled trial of phenobarbitone in the treatment of non-obstructive neonatal jaundice is reported. 24 babies were given phenobarbitone by mouth for 3 days from the first appearance of jaundice. 27 babies were given placebo linctus for the same period from the appearance of jaundice. There was a small but statistically significant difference between the mean serum bilirubin levels of the two groups 24 hours after starting treatment or placebo, the mean level of the control group being the higher. There was no significant difference in the mean serum bilirubin levels for the two groups initially or at 48 and 72 hours. The maximum recorded levels of serum bilirubin did not differ significantly between the two groups. It is concluded that phenobarbitone has no place in the management of established neonatal jaundice.
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