A study of a progesterone gel in pregnant women has exciting results…
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Treating high-risk pregnant women with the hormone progesterone cut their rate of premature delivery by 45 percent and helped lower the risk of breathing complications in their babies, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
The late-stage study of the vaginal gel made by Columbia Laboratories Inc and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc raises hopes for a simple way to prevent premature birth in women with a short cervix.
“The study published today offers hope to women, families and children,” Dr. Roberto Romero, chief of the perinatology research branch of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.
“Worldwide, more than 12 million premature babies – 500,000 of them in this country – are born each year, and the results are often tragic. Our clinical study clearly shows that it is possible to identify women at risk and reduce the rate of preterm delivery by nearly half, simply by treating women who have a short cervix with a natural hormone – progesterone,” Romero said.
The Providence Journal ran an excellent series on the costs of prematurity, called ‘The Price of Miracles’. Most of us know a child or family who has been affected by the possibility, or actuality, of a premature birth.
It’s not clear from the article who funded the study, Columbia and Watson Pharmaceuticals would market the gel and Watson is up on the stock exchange following the study publication.
We’re an over-medicated society, but there’s times when you need a good drug, and this sounds like really good news. Progesterone has been used for decades, the effects are well known, it’s not expensive and a gel should be easy to use with low risk of med errors.