Tuesday June 25, 2019

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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Medicines (representational Image), wikimedia

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)

 

Next Story

Delhi High Court Agrees to Hear Plea Seeking to Increase Prescribed Length of Pregnancy

Sahni also pleaded that unmarried women and widows are equally entitled to terminate a pregnancy under the MTP Act

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Delhi High Court. Source- Wikimedia

The Delhi High Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking to increase the prescribed length of a pregnancy from a period of “20 weeks to 24 weeks”.

A division bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi said it will hear the plea on Tuesday. The plea filed by social activist and lawyer Amit Sahni was mentioned before the bench on Monday.

In his plea, Sahni has sought direction to the government to replace or suitably extend the length of pregnancy from “20 weeks” by a further period of four to six weeks by bringing suitable amendments in Section 3(2)(b) of Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits abortion of a foetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The petitioner said that Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act is against the right to privacy as it completely prohibits termination of pregnancy in case the fetus is suffering from severe abnormality even after a period of 20 weeks.

“There is substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped,” the plea said.

Where pregnancy is caused by rape or due to failure of a device used by a married woman or by her husband, the MTP Act is totally silent on it, the plea said adding that it makes termination of pregnancy as an offence punishable under Indian Penal Code if the same is not done in accordance with the MTP Act.

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A model wears the Owlet Band pregnancy monitor at the Owlet booth at CES International, Jan. 9, 2019, in Las Vegas. The device can track fetal heart rate, kicks and contractions. VOA

The plea said that the fetal abnormalities are detected appropriately between 18 to 20 weeks and the period of one-two weeks is too less for the would-be parents to take the difficult call on whether to keep their baby or to abort it.

“…the lack of legal approval moves abortion to the underground (illegal manner) and they are done in unhygienic conditions by untrained persons, thus putting thousands of women at risk,” read the plea.

It also demanded empowering of women with sexual rights, legal protection against sex crimes and sex choices both in their own interest and for the sake of reducing the fertility rate as a whole.

It said that abortion beyond a period of 20 weeks is permitted only if continuing the pregnancy poses a substantial risk to the woman’s life. But the law does not consider the factum of serious abnormalities suffered by the child in womb and are detected after the 20th week.

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Sahni has cited Supreme Court judgments that a woman’s right to privacy, dignity and bodily integrity should be respected. He also mentioned many European countries including France, UK and Italy and even Nepal which allow abortion after 20 weeks if fetal abnormalities are discovered.

He requested the court to hold that the right to abort the pregnancy is a fundamental right of the woman’s body sovereignty and each woman has the sole right to make a decision about her body in the context of carrying on a pregnancy or to terminate the same, subject to checks as provided under the MTP Act or further checks, which may be provided.

Sahni also pleaded that unmarried women and widows are equally entitled to terminate a pregnancy under the MTP Act. (IANS)