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Effectiveness and safety of misoprostol distributed to antenatal women to prevent postpartum haemorrhage after child-births: a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial

Ononge, Sam, Campbell, Oona M. R., Kaharuza, Frank, Lewis, James J., Fielding, Katherine and Mirembe, Florence 2015. Effectiveness and safety of misoprostol distributed to antenatal women to prevent postpartum haemorrhage after child-births: a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 15 , -. 10.1186/s12884-015-0750-6

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BACKGROUND: Oral misoprostol, administered by trained health-workers is effective and safe for preventing postpartum haemorrhage (PPH). There is interest in expanding administration of misoprostol by non-health workers, including task-shifting to pregnant women themselves. However, the use of misoprostol for preventing PPH in home-births remains controversial, due to the limited evidence to support self-administration or leaving it in the hands of non-health workers. This study aimed to determine if antenatally distributing misoprostol to pregnant women to self-administer at home birth reduces PPH. METHODS: Between February 2013 and March 2014, we conducted a stepped-wedge cluster-randomized trial in six health facilities in Central Uganda. Women at 28+ weeks of gestation attending antenatal care were eligible. Women in the control-arm received the standard-of-care; while the intervention-arm were offered 600 mcg of misoprostol to swallow immediately after birth of baby, when oxytocin was not available. The primary outcome (PPH) was a drop in postpartum maternal haemoglobin (Hb) by ≥ 2 g/dl, lower than the prenatal Hb. Analysis was by intention-to-treat at the cluster level and we used a paired t-tests to assess whether the mean difference between the control and intervention groups was statistically significant. RESULTS: 97% (2466/2545) of eligible women consented to participate; 1430 and 1036 in the control and intervention arms respectively. Two thousand fifty-seven of the participants were successfully followed up and 271 (13.2%) delivered outside a health facility. There was no significant difference between the study group in number of women who received a uterotonic at birth (control 80.4% vs intervention 91.4%, mean difference = -11.0%, 95% confidence interval [CI] -25.7% to 3.6%, p = 0.11). No woman took misoprostol before their baby's birth. Shivering and fever were 14.9% in the control arm compared to 22.2% in the intervention arm (mean difference = -7.2%, 95% CI -11.1% to -3.7%), p = 0.005). There was a slight, but non-significant, reduction in the percentage of women with Hb drop ≥ 2g/dl from 18.5% in the control arm to 11.4% in the intervention arm (mean difference = 7.1%, 95% CI -3.1% to 17.3%, p = 0.14). Similarly, there was no significant difference between the groups in the primary outcome in the women who delivered at home (control 9.6% vs intervention 14.5%, mean difference -4.9; 95% CI -12.7 to 2.9), p = 0.17). CONCLUSION: This study was unable to detect a significant reduction in PPH following the antenatal distribution of misoprostol. The study was registered with Pan-African Clinical Trials Network ( PACTR201303000459148, on 19/11/2012).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Publisher: BMC
ISSN: 1471-2393
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 August 2019
Date of Acceptance: 21 November 2015
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2019 13:08

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