A WHO (World Health Organization) study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has shown carbetocin to be as safe and effective as oxytocin.
Carbetocin could save thousands of women’s lives because it does not need to be refrigerated and keeps efficacy for at least three years if it’s stored at 30 degrees celcius and 75% relative humidity; unlike oxytocin which needs to be transported and stored at 2-8 degrees celcius which is difficult to do in some countries.
The clinical trial studied around 30,000 women who gave birth vaginally in 10 countries – Argentina, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
Each woman was given a single injection of either carbetocin or oxytocin immediately after childbirth.
The study found that both drugs were equally effective at preventing excessive bleeding following childbirth, leading to postpartum haemorrhage.
From the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO, Dr Metin Gümezoglu, 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 the millions of women who give birth in parts of the world without access to reliable refrigeration.”
The next step will be a regulatory review and approval by countries.
The research ‘Heat-stable carbetocin versus oxytocin to prevent haemorrhage after vaginal birth’ can be found here.
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