OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that infants who are just being introduced to enteral feedings will advance to full enteral nutrition at a faster rate if they receive "trophic" (15 mL/kg/d) enteral feedings while receiving indomethacin or ibuprofen treatment for patent ductus arteriosus. STUDY DESIGN: Infants were eligible for the study if they were 23(1/7)-30(6/7) weeks' gestation, weighed 401-1250 g at birth, received maximum enteral volumes =60 mL/kg/d, and were about to be treated with indomethacin or ibuprofen. A standardized "feeding advance regimen" and guidelines for managing feeding intolerance were followed at each site (N = 13). RESULTS: Infants (N = 177, 26.3 +/- 1.9 weeks' mean +/- SD gestation) were randomized at 6.5 +/- 3.9 days to receive "trophic" feeds ("feeding" group, n = 81: indomethacin 80%, ibuprofen 20%) or no feeds ("fasting [nil per os]" group, n = 96: indomethacin 75%, ibuprofen 25%) during the drug administration period. Maximum daily enteral volumes before study entry were 14 +/- 15 mL/kg/d. After drug treatment, infants randomized to the "feeding" arm required fewer days to reach the study's feeding volume end point (120 mL/kg/d). Although the enteral feeding end point was reached at an earlier postnatal age, the age at which central venous lines were removed did not differ between the 2 groups. There were no differences between the 2 groups in the incidence of infection, necrotizing enterocolitis, spontaneous intestinal perforation, or other neonatal morbidities. CONCLUSION: Infants required less time to reach the feeding volume end point if they were given "trophic" enteral feedings when they received indomethacin or ibuprofen treatments.