A study led by World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with MSD for Mothers and Ferring Pharmaceuticals has come up with a study that could reduce maternal mortality by saving women’s lives after childbirth.
Oxytocin, a medication which is the current medication used to prevent excessive bleeding after a child is limited as it difficult to maintain the required temperature it needs to be effective, especially in some countries with high heat level.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the heat-stable carbetocin is a better alternative to Oxytocin as it does not require refrigeration and retain its potency for at least 3 years as long as it is stored at 30 degrees Celsius and 75 per cent relative humidity.
Close to 30,000 women from Kenya, Argentina, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom who gave birth through the virginal were studied.
The women were given a single injection of either heat-stable carbetocin or oxytocin at random immediately after they gave birth and both drugs were observed to be effective at preventing excessive bleeding after birth.
Dr Metin Gülmezoglu, from the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the WHO, said, “The development of a drug to prevent postpartum haemorrhage that continues to remain effective in hot and humid conditions is very good news for millions of women who give birth in parts of the world without access to reliable refrigeration.”
The next step is regulatory review and approval by countries after which WHO will ask its Guideline Development Group to consider whether heat-stable carbetocin should be recommended for the prevention of postpartum haemorrhage.
Statistics show post-partum haemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death accounting for 661,000 deaths worldwide between 2003 and 2009.
More than 70 per cent of these deaths occur due to uterine atony, which results from poor contraction of the uterus after childbirth.