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      Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management (submit here)

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      Critical appraisal and clinical utility of atosiban in the management of preterm labor


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          Preterm birth is the major cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality in the developed world, and spontaneous preterm labor is the commonest cause of preterm birth. Interventions to treat women in spontaneous preterm labor have not reduced the incidence of preterm births but this may be due to increased risk factors, inclusion of births at the limits of viability, and an increase in the use of elective preterm birth. The role of antibiotics remains unproven. In the largest of the randomized controlled trials, evaluating the use of antibiotics for the prevention of preterm births in women in spontaneous preterm labor, antibiotics against anaerobes and bacterial vaginosis-related organisms were not included, and no objective evidence of abnormal genital tract flora was obtained. Atosiban and nifedipine are the main tocolytic agents used to treat women in spontaneous preterm labor, but atosiban is the tocolytic agent with the fewest maternal – fetal side effects. A well conducted randomized controlled trial comparing atosiban with nifedipine for their effectiveness and safety is needed.

          Most cited references110

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          Antenatal corticosteroids for accelerating fetal lung maturation for women at risk of preterm birth.

          Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a serious complication of preterm birth and the primary cause of early neonatal mortality and disability. To assess the effects on fetal and neonatal morbidity and mortality, on maternal mortality and morbidity, and on the child in later life of administering corticosteroids to the mother before anticipated preterm birth. We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group Trials Register (30 October 2005). Randomised controlled comparisons of antenatal corticosteroid administration (betamethasone, dexamethasone, or hydrocortisone) with placebo or with no treatment given to women with a singleton or multiple pregnancy, expected to deliver preterm as a result of either spontaneous preterm labour, preterm prelabour rupture of the membranes or elective preterm delivery. Two review authors assessed trial quality and extracted data independently. Twenty-one studies (3885 women and 4269 infants) are included. Treatment with antenatal corticosteroids does not increase risk to the mother of death, chorioamnionitis or puerperal sepsis. Treatment with antenatal corticosteroids is associated with an overall reduction in neonatal death (relative risk (RR) 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.58 to 0.81, 18 studies, 3956 infants), RDS (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.73, 21 studies, 4038 infants), cerebroventricular haemorrhage (RR 0.54, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.69, 13 studies, 2872 infants), necrotising enterocolitis (RR 0.46, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.74, eight studies, 1675 infants), respiratory support, intensive care admissions (RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.99, two studies, 277 infants) and systemic infections in the first 48 hours of life (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.85, five studies, 1319 infants). Antenatal corticosteroid use is effective in women with premature rupture of membranes and pregnancy related hypertension syndromes. The evidence from this new review supports the continued use of a single course of antenatal corticosteroids to accelerate fetal lung maturation in women at risk of preterm birth. A single course of antenatal corticosteroids should be considered routine for preterm delivery with few exceptions. Further information is required concerning optimal dose to delivery interval, optimal corticosteroid to use, effects in multiple pregnancies, and to confirm the long-term effects into adulthood.
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            The preterm parturition syndrome.

            The implicit paradigm that has governed the study and clinical management of preterm labour is that term and preterm parturition are the same processes, except for the gestational age at which they occur. Indeed, both share a common pathway composed of uterine contractility, cervical dilatation and activation of the membranes/decidua. This review explores the concept that while term labour results from physiological activation of the components of the common pathway, preterm labour arises from pathological signalling and activation of one or more components of the common pathway of parturition. The term "great obstetrical syndromes" has been coined to reframe the concept of obstetrical disease. Such syndromes are characterised by: (1) multiple aetiology; (2) long preclinical stage; (3) frequent fetal involvement; (4) clinical manifestations that are often adaptive in nature; and (5) gene-environment interactions that may predispose to the syndromes. This article reviews the evidence indicating that the pathological processes implicated in the preterm parturition syndrome include: (1) intrauterine infection/inflammation; (2) uterine ischaemia; (3) uterine overdistension; (4) abnormal allograft reaction; (5) allergy; (6) cervical insufficiency; and (7) hormonal disorders (progesterone related and corticotrophin-releasing factor related). The implications of this conceptual framework for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of preterm labour are discussed.
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              A placental clock controlling the length of human pregnancy.

              We report the existence of a 'placental clock', which is active from an early stage in human pregnancy and determines the length of gestation and the timing of parturition and delivery. Using a prospective, longitudinal cohort study of 485 pregnant women we have demonstrated that placental secretion of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is a marker of this process and that measurement of the maternal plasma CRH concentration as early as 16-20 weeks of gestation identifies groups of women who are destined to experience normal term, preterm or post-term delivery. Further, we report that the exponential rise in maternal plasma CRH concentrations with advancing pregnancy is associated with a concomitant fall in concentrations of the specific CRH binding protein in late pregnancy, leading to a rapid increase in circulating levels of bioavailable CRH at a time that coincides with the onset of parturition, suggesting that CRH may act directly as a trigger for parturition in humans.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                26 April 2010
                : 6
                : 191-199
                [1 ] Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Mary’s Imperial NHS Trust, London, UK
                [2 ] Northwick Park Institute of Medical Research, London, UK
                [3 ] Imperial College, London, UK
                [4 ] University College, London, UK
                [5 ] Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Professor Ronald F Lamont, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA, Email rlamont@ 123456med.wayne.edu
                © 2010 Sanu and Lamont publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


                tocolytics,preterm births,management,preterm labor,atosiban
                tocolytics, preterm births, management, preterm labor, atosiban


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