17-alpha Hydroxyprogesterone caproate did not reduce the rate of recurrent preterm birth in a prospective cohort study

David B. Nelson, Donald D. McIntire, Jeffrey McDonald, John Gard, Paula Turrichi, Kenneth J. Leveno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Background: 17-alpha Hydroxyprogesterone caproate for prevention of recurrent preterm birth is recommended for use in the United States. Objective: We sought to assess the clinical effectiveness of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate to prevent recurrent preterm birth ≤35 weeks compared to similar births in our obstetric population prior to the implementation of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate. Study Design: This was a prospective cohort study of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate in our obstetric population. The primary outcome was the recurrence of birth ≤35 weeks for the entire study cohort compared to a historical referent rate of 16.8% of recurrent preterm birth in our population. There were 3 secondary outcomes. First, did 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate modify a woman's history of preterm birth when taking into account her prior number and sequence of preterm and term births? Second, was recurrence of preterm birth related to 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate plasma concentration? Third, was duration of pregnancy modified by 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate treatment compared to a prior preterm birth? Results: From January 2012 through March 2016, 430 consecutive women with prior births ≤35 weeks were treated with 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate. Nearly two thirds of the women (N = 267) began injections ≤18 weeks and 394 (92%) received a scheduled weekly injection within 10 days of reaching 35 weeks or delivery. The overall rate of recurrent preterm birth was 25% (N = 106) for the entire cohort compared to the 16.8% expected rate (P = 1.0). The 3 secondary outcomes were also negative. First, 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate did not significantly reduce the rates of recurrence regardless of prior preterm birth number or sequence. Second, plasma concentrations of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate were not different (P = .17 at 24 weeks; P = .38 at 32 weeks) between women delivered ≤35 weeks and those delivered later in pregnancy. Third, the mean (±SD) interval in weeks of recurrent preterm birth before 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate use was 0.4 ± 5.3 weeks and the interval of recurrent preterm birth after 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate treatment was 0.1 ± 4.7 weeks (P = .63). A side effect of weekly 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate injections was an increase in gestational diabetes. Specifically, the rate of gestational diabetes was 13.4% in 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate-treated women compared to 8% in case-matched controls (P = .001). Conclusion: 17-alpha Hydroxyprogesterone caproate was ineffective for prevention of recurrent preterm birth and was associated with an increased rate of gestational diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 10 2017


  • Efficacy
  • External validity
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Neonatal morbidity
  • Prematurity
  • Preterm birth
  • Progesterone
  • Progestogen
  • Randomized trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of '17-alpha Hydroxyprogesterone caproate did not reduce the rate of recurrent preterm birth in a prospective cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this