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Progesterone to prevent miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding: the PRISM RCT

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Meenakshi Choudhary


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BACKGROUND: Progesterone is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Several small trials have suggested that progesterone therapy may rescue a pregnancy in women with early pregnancy bleeding, which is a symptom that is strongly associated with miscarriage. OBJECTIVES: (1) To assess the effects of vaginal micronised progesterone in women with vaginal bleeding in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. (2) To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of progesterone in women with early pregnancy bleeding. DESIGN: A multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of progesterone in women with early pregnancy vaginal bleeding. SETTING: A total of 48 hospitals in the UK. PARTICIPANTS: Women aged 16-39 years with early pregnancy bleeding. INTERVENTIONS: Women aged 16-39 years were randomly assigned to receive twice-daily vaginal suppositories containing either 400 mg of progesterone or a matched placebo from presentation to 16 weeks of gestation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was live birth at ≥ 34 weeks. In addition, a within-trial cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted from an NHS and NHS/Personal Social Services perspective. RESULTS: A total of 4153 women from 48 hospitals in the UK received either progesterone (n = 2079) or placebo (n = 2074). The follow-up rate for the primary outcome was 97.2% (4038 out of 4153 participants). The live birth rate was 75% (1513 out of 2025 participants) in the progesterone group and 72% (1459 out of 2013 participants) in the placebo group (relative rate 1.03, 95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.07; p = 0.08). A significant subgroup effect (interaction test p = 0.007) was identified for prespecified subgroups by the number of previous miscarriages: none (74% in the progesterone group vs. 75% in the placebo group; relative rate 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.04; p = 0.72); one or two (76% in the progesterone group vs. 72% in the placebo group; relative rate 1.05, 95% confidence interval 1.00 to 1.12; p = 0.07); and three or more (72% in the progesterone group vs. 57% in the placebo group; relative rate 1.28, 95% confidence interval 1.08 to 1.51; p = 0.004). A significant post hoc subgroup effect (interaction test p = 0.01) was identified in the subgroup of participants with early pregnancy bleeding and any number of previous miscarriage(s) (75% in the progesterone group vs. 70% in the placebo group; relative rate 1.09, 95% confidence interval 1.03 to 1.15; p = 0.003). There were no significant differences in the rate of adverse events between the groups. The results of the health economics analysis show that progesterone was more costly than placebo (£7655 vs. £7572), with a mean cost difference of £83 (adjusted mean difference £76, 95% confidence interval -£559 to £711) between the two arms. Thus, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of progesterone compared with placebo was estimated as £3305 per additional live birth at ≥ 34 weeks of gestation. CONCLUSIONS: Progesterone therapy in the first trimester of pregnancy did not result in a significantly higher rate of live births among women with threatened miscarriage overall, but an important subgroup effect was identified. A conclusion on the cost-effectiveness of the PRISM trial would depend on the amount that society is willing to pay to increase the chances of an additional live birth at ≥ 34 weeks. For future work, we plan to conduct an individual participant data meta-analysis using all existing data sets. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN14163439, EudraCT 2014-002348-42 and Integrated Research Application System (IRAS) 158326. FUNDING: This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme and will be published in full in Health Technology Assessment; Vol. 24, No. 33. See the NIHR Journals Library website for further project information.Miscarriage is a common complication of pregnancy that affects one in five pregnancies. Several small studies have suggested that progesterone, a hormone essential for maintaining a pregnancy, may reduce the risk of miscarriage in women presenting with early pregnancy bleeding. This research was undertaken to test whether or not progesterone given to pregnant women with early pregnancy bleeding would increase the number of live births when compared with placebo (dummy treatment). The women participating in the study had an equal chance of receiving progesterone or placebo, as determined by a computer; one group received progesterone (400 mg twice daily as vaginal pessaries) and the other group received placebo with an identical appearance. Treatment began when women presented with vaginal bleeding, were < 12 weeks of gestation and were found to have at least a pregnancy sac on an ultrasound scan. Treatment was stopped at 16 weeks of gestation, or earlier if the pregnancy ended before 16 weeks. Neither the participants nor their health-care professionals knew which treatment was being received. In total, 23,775 women were screened and 4153 women were randomised to receive either progesterone or placebo pessaries. Altogether, 2972 participants had a live birth after at least 34 weeks of gestation. Overall, the live birth rate in the progesterone group was 75% (1513 out of 2025 participants), compared with 72% (1459 out of 2013 participants) in the placebo group. Although the live birth rate was 3% higher in the progesterone group than in the placebo group, there was statistical uncertainty about this finding. However, it was observed that women with a history of one or more previous miscarriages and vaginal bleeding in their current pregnancy may benefit from progesterone. For women with no previous miscarriages, our analysis showed that the live birth rate was 74% (824 out of 1111 participants) in the progesterone group compared with 75% (840 out of 1127 participants) in the placebo group. For women with one or more previous miscarriages, the live birth rate was 75% (689 out of 914 participants) in the progesterone group compared with 70% (619 out of 886 participants) in the placebo group. The potential benefit appeared to be most strong for women with three or more previous miscarriages, who had a live birth rate of 72% (98 out of 137 participants) in the progesterone group compared with 57% (85 out of 148 participants) in the placebo group. Treatment with progesterone did not appear to have any negative effects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coomarasamy A, Harb HM, Devall AJ, Cheed V, Roberts TE, Goranitis I, Ogwulu CB, Williams HM, Gallos ID, Eapen A, Daniels JP, Ahmed A, Bender-Atik R, Bhatia K, Bottomley C, Brewin J, Choudhary M, Crosfill F, Deb S, Duncan WC, Ewer A, Hinshaw K, Holland T, Izzat F, Johns J, Lumsden M-A, Manda P, Norman JE, Nunes N, Overton CE, Kriedt K, Quenby S, Rao S, Ross J, Shahid A, Underwood M, Vaithilingham N, Watkins L, Wykes C, Horne AW, Jurkovic D, Middleton LJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health technology assessment

Year: 2020

Volume: 24

Issue: 33

Pages: 1-70

Online publication date: 01/07/2020

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1366-5278

ISSN (electronic): 2046-4924

Publisher: NIHR Journals Library


DOI: 10.3310/hta24330

PubMed id: 32609084


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