Friday February 23, 2018

Drug prescribed to Pregnant Women with history of delivering Premature Babies may do more Harm than Good: Study

The drug, mostly prescribed to pregnant women with a history of delivering premture babies may even increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes

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New York, March 15, 2017: A drug commonly prescribed to pregnant women with a history of delivering premature babies may do more harm than good, says a study.

Far from providing any benefit, this drug — known by the brand name Makena — may even increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes, said the study published online in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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“Our study showed the drug to be ineffective, and it has a side effect,” said first author of the study David Nelson, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) in the US.

The drug, a synthetic progestogen hormone called 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 to treat women at risk of delivering a second premature baby.

The FDA gave the drug accelerated approval in part due to findings in a 2003 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine that the drug reduced the likelihood of a repeat preterm delivery.

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However, Makena has been a source of debate among doctors because of the questions raised about the 2003 findings.

Earlier research findings on the benefit of 17-OHPC have been mixed, said Kenneth Leveno, senior author of the study and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern.

In the newly published study, pregnant women treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital, were offered the drug 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-OHPC) if they had a prior history of premature births and were carrying a single fetus.

The research took place from 2012 to 2016 and followed 430 women treated with the drug.

Researchers then compared the premature birth rate of those women with the historical premature birth rate of 5,787 patients seen at Parkland between 1988 and 2011 — women who also had a history of premature delivery but never took the drug.

Of the women in the study group who took the drug, 25 per cent had a premature delivery.

That compared with a 16.8 per cent preterm birth rate in the historical nondrug group.

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The rate of gestational diabetes was 13.4 per cent in women treated with the drug, compared with eight per cent in the other group, the study found.

Gestational diabetes often goes away after the birth, and therefore is not usually a serious problem for the mother, Nelson said.

However, it can lead to deliveries of larger babies and increased chances for cesarean sections and other birth complications. (IANS)

 

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Lia, the Pregnancy Test You Can Flush

Born out of research conducted during their graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia’s creators say it’s the first flushable and biodegradable pregnancy test developed

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In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy.
In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy. Wikimedia Commons
  • Lia works like traditional, over-the-counter pregnancy tests, detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine
  • Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems
  •  Lia will be available in the third quarter of 2018 and sell for between $7 and $8, comparable to pregnancy tests currently on the market

NEW YORK: Bethany Edwards and her co-workers spend a lot of time with pregnancy tests.

“We all peed on a lot of different things,” Edwards says, laughing. “So that’s been fun and interesting.”

Edwards is the co-founder and CEO of Lia Diagnostics. Together with co-founder Anna Simpson, Edwards and her team have created a new-and-improved pregnancy test called Lia.

Lia works like traditional, over-the-counter pregnancy tests, detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine.

But unlike traditional tests, Lia is made of paper instead of plastic and is 100 percent biodegradable in 12 weeks, its creators say.

Also Read: Father’s stress linked to kids’ brain development

“We’re really bringing together a solution that is better for women but also better for the planet,” Edwards said.

Flushable, biodegradable

Born out of research conducted during their graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia’s creators say it’s the first flushable and biodegradable pregnancy test developed. The product recently obtained clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems.

The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test. Wikimedia Commons
The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test. Wikimedia Commons

Creating a paper test that could hold up long enough to test urine samples but eventually disintegrate after flushing was a major challenge.

“We really had to develop our own coatings, proprietary coatings, to allow the paper and the materials that we’re using to hold up in use but also be able to break down quickly after you’re done,” Edwards said.

“It’s kind of a very counterintuitive sort of thing,” she added. “You want something that has rigidity and structure, but then after you’re done with it, doesn’t, and is able to become flimsy and separate in water.”

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Edwards demonstrated by wetting a Lia prototype under a faucet. In the section that tests urine samples, the water was absorbed, while along the outer edge, a water droplet remained intact.

The test eventually soaked up even more water, becoming pliable enough for its two paper layers to easily separate. Lia’s paper layers are crimped and held together by force, not glue, which helps it dissolve. Users can speed up the breakdown process by tearing the test in half, at notches near the centre.

In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy.

“We know that there’s sometimes fear around getting and obtaining a pregnancy test,” Edwards said. “Those extra efforts or having to ask somebody, the judgment in that is sometimes enough to have somebody not take a pregnancy test as soon as they should.”

“Lots of women tell their stories about hiding pregnancy tests in trash, trash cans, taking them in public restrooms, wrapping them in tinfoil and hiding them in other garbage cans. I mean, some extreme stories,” she added.

Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems.
Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems. Wikimedia Commons

Privacy concerns

Dr Meera Shah, a physician based in New York and a fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, spoke of teenage patients whose privacy was compromised when their parents discovered pregnancy tests in the trash. The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test.

“I’ve had patients tell me that their partners found their pregnancy test in the trash can, and that put them at risk for further abuse at home,” Shah said.

Also Read: Study: Partial Dose of Yellow Fever Vaccine Provides Protection

“I think that a discreet pregnancy test can empower women and empower people to be able to take a test without worrying about outside interference,” she said. “That has the potential to further engage them with the reproductive health care that they need after that.”

Cost factor

“Often times I hear that pregnancy tests can be expensive,” Shah said. “I tend to work with lower-income patients, patients who have poorer access to reproductive health care services, and so I think the cost can be a barrier.”

Lia will be available in the third quarter of 2018 and sell for between $7 and $8, comparable to pregnancy tests currently on the market. (VOA)