The Food and Drug Association in the US has approved a new drug that may help prevent babies being born before 37 weeks. Premature birth can cause birth defects, learning difficulties and even death.
The drug, Makena, which is still being trialled, has passed initial clinical trials and will be available to women in the US who are deemed “at risk” due to previously going into labour early.
Recurrence (the same thing happening again) is a high risk factor for premature birth so the drug is primarily for women at risk of this. It is not currently to be used for those pregnant with more than one baby or for those with other risk factors.
The drug is given by injection once a week, starting between week 16 and week 21 of pregnancy and lasting up to week 37. The drug has previously been used in the US to treat hormone complaints but this is the first time it will be used in relation to pregnancy. There are no current plans to introduce the drug into the UK market until further trials are complete in the US.