Early vaginal progesterone versus placebo in twin pregnancies for the prevention of spontaneous preterm birth: a randomized, double-blind trial

Anoop Rehal, Zsófia Benkő, Catalina De Paco Matallana, Argyro Syngelaki, Deepa Janga, Simona Cicero, Ranjit Akolekar, Mandeep Singh, Petya Chaveeva, Jorge Burgos, Francisca S. Molina, Makrina Savvidou, Maria De La Calle, Nicola Persico, Maria Soledad Quezada Rojas, Ashis Sau, Elena Greco, Neil O'Gorman, Walter Plasencia, Susana PereiraJacques C. Jani, Nuria Valino, Maria del Mar Gil, Kate Maclagan, Alan Wright, David Wright, Kypros H. Nicolaides

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: In women with a singleton pregnancy and sonographic short cervix in midgestation, vaginal administration of progesterone reduces the risk of early preterm birth and improves neonatal outcomes without any demonstrable deleterious effects on childhood neurodevelopment. In women with twin pregnancies, the rate of spontaneous early preterm birth is 10 times higher than that in singletons, and in this respect, all twins are at an increased risk of preterm birth. However, 6 trials in unselected twin pregnancies reported that vaginal administration of progesterone from midgestation had no significant effect on the incidence of early preterm birth. Such apparent lack of effectiveness of progesterone in twins may be due to inadequate dosage or treatment that is started too late in pregnancy. Objective: The early vaginal progesterone for the prevention of spontaneous preterm birth in twins, a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, was designed to test the hypothesis that among women with twin pregnancies, vaginal progesterone at a dose of 600 mg per day from 11 to 14 until 34 weeks’ gestation, as compared with placebo, would result in a significant reduction in the incidence of spontaneous preterm birth between 24+0 and 33+6 weeks. Study Design: The trial was conducted at 22 hospitals in England, Spain, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, and France. Women were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either progesterone or placebo, and in the random-sequence generation, there was stratification according to the participating center. The primary outcome was spontaneous birth between 24+0 and 33+6 weeks’ gestation. Statistical analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the significance of difference in the incidence of spontaneous birth between 24+0 and 33+6 weeks’ gestation between the progesterone and placebo groups, adjusting for the effect of participating center, chorionicity, parity, and method of conception. Prespecified tests of treatment interaction effects with chorionicity, parity, method of conception, compliance, and cervical length at recruitment were performed. A post hoc analysis using mixed-effects Cox regression was used for further exploration of the effect of progesterone on preterm birth. Results: We recruited 1194 women between May 2017 and April 2019; 21 withdrew consent and 4 were lost to follow-up, which left 582 in the progesterone group and 587 in the placebo group. Adherence was good, with reported intake of ≥80% of the required number of capsules in 81.4% of the participants. After excluding births before 24 weeks and indicated deliveries before 34 weeks, spontaneous birth between 24+0 and 33+6 weeks occurred in 10.4% (56/541) of participants in the progesterone group and in 8.2% (44/538) in the placebo group (odds ratio in the progesterone group, adjusting for the effect of participating center, chorionicity, parity, and method of conception, 1.35; 95% confidence interval, 0.88–2.05; P=.17). There was no evidence of interaction between the effects of treatment and chorionicity (P=.28), parity (P=.35), method of conception (P=.56), and adherence (P=.34); however, there was weak evidence of an interaction with cervical length (P=.08) suggestive of harm to those with a cervical length of ≥30 mm (odds ratio, 1.61; 95% confidence interval, 1.01–2.59) and potential benefit for those with a cervical length of <30 mm (odds ratio, 0.56; 95% confidence interval, 0.20–1.60). There was no evidence of difference between the 2 treatment groups for stillbirth or neonatal death, neonatal complications, neonatal therapy, and poor fetal growth. In the progesterone group, 1.4% (8/582) of women and 1.9% (22/1164) of fetuses experienced at least 1 serious adverse event; the respective numbers for the placebo group were 1.2% (7/587) and 3.2% (37/1174) (P=.80 and P=.06, respectively). In the post hoc time-to-event analysis, miscarriage or spontaneous preterm birth between randomization and 31+6 weeks’ gestation was reduced in the progesterone group relative to the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.08–0.69). Conclusion: In women with twin pregnancies, universal treatment with vaginal progesterone did not reduce the incidence of spontaneous birth between 24+0 and 33+6 weeks’ gestation. Post hoc time-to-event analysis led to the suggestion that progesterone may reduce the risk of spontaneous birth before 32 weeks’ gestation in women with a cervical length of <30 mm, and it may increase the risk for those with a cervical length of ≥30 mm.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • cervical length
  • preterm birth
  • progesterone
  • randomized trial
  • twin pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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    Rehal, A., Benkő, Z., De Paco Matallana, C., Syngelaki, A., Janga, D., Cicero, S., Akolekar, R., Singh, M., Chaveeva, P., Burgos, J., Molina, F. S., Savvidou, M., De La Calle, M., Persico, N., Quezada Rojas, M. S., Sau, A., Greco, E., O'Gorman, N., Plasencia, W., ... Nicolaides, K. H. (Accepted/In press). Early vaginal progesterone versus placebo in twin pregnancies for the prevention of spontaneous preterm birth: a randomized, double-blind trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2020.06.050