Clinical Review

2020 Update on obstetrics

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Expert review of recent ObGyn essentials: the future of 17-OHPC for recurrent preterm birth, preventing early-onset group B strep disease in newborns, and updated management approaches for gestational and chronic hypertension in pregnancy



Attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and often quoted in contemporary times, is the expression “the only constant is change.” This sentiment rings true for the field of obstetrics this past year, as several bread-and-butter guidelines for managing common obstetric conditions were either challenged or altered.

The publication of the PROLONG trial called into question the use of intramuscular progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth. Prophylaxis guidelines for group B streptococcal disease were updated, including several significant clinical practice changes. Finally, there was a comprehensive overhaul of the guidelines for hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, which replaced a landmark Task Force document from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) that was published only a few years ago.

Change is constant, and in obstetrics it is vital to keep up with the changing guidelines that result as new data become available for digestion and implementation into everyday clinical practice.

Results from the PROLONG trial may shake up treatment options for recurrent preterm birth

Blackwell SC, Gyamfi-Bannerman C, Biggio JR Jr, et al. 17-OHPC to prevent recurrent preterm birth in singleton gestations (PROLONG study): a multicenter, international, randomized double-blind trial. Am J Perinatol. 2019. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-3400227.

The drug 17 α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-OHPC, or 17P; Makena) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for the prevention of spontaneous preterm birth (PTB) in women with a singleton pregnancy and a history of singleton spontaneous PTB. The results of the trial by Meis and colleagues of 17-OHPC played a major role in achieving that approval, as it demonstrated a 34% reduction in recurrent PTB and a reduction in some neonatal morbidities.1 Following the drug's approval, both ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) published guidelines recommending progesterone therapy, including 17-OHPC, for the prevention of recurrent spontaneous PTB.2

The FDA approval of 17-OHPC was granted under an accelerated conditional pathway that required a confirmatory trial evaluating efficacy, safety, and long-term infant follow-up to be performed by the sponsor. That trial, Progestin's Role in Optimizing Neonatal Gestation (PROLONG), was started in 2009, and its results were published on October 25, 2019.3

Continue to: Design of the trial...


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