Progesterone and Preterm Birth

progesterone_preterm_birthProgesterone supplementation can be very useful in preventing preterm labor and birth. Both injectable and vaginal progesterone are used for this purpose, and many a savvy doctor has also used progesterone cream. Natural progesterone, also called bioidentical progesterone, is likely the safest form of progesterone to use.

Injectable progesterone for preterm birth has been in the news lately, thanks to an outrageous move to corner the market and price gouge pregnant women. In true Big Pharma fashion, which puts profits above all else, KV Pharmaceutical applied to the FDA for “orphan drug” status for an injectable progesterone (Makena) used to prevent preterm birth. In spite of the fact that injectable progesterone has been available since the 1950s, the FDA approved KV’s application,  which gives the company exclusive rights to market progesterone in this form, for this purpose. KV then promptly raised the price of injectable progesterone from $10 to $50 a dose to $1500 a dose.

As predictably predatory as this move is, there’s more than one way to get injectable progesterone, and for that matter, more than one way to deliver progesterone. First, Makena is not progesterone per se, it is hydroxyprogesterone caproate, or 17P, a naturally occurring metabolite of progesterone, so actual progesterone is not restricted other than by the fact that it would be an off-label use. Doctors can contact a compounding pharmacy, most of which can provide generic injectable hydroxyprogesterone caproate, or actual progesterone, available at a fraction of the price of Makena.

Vaginal progesterone is also used for prevention of preterm labor, particularly in Great Britain, and it’s just as effective as the injections, and much less expensive.

Although progesterone cream hasn’t been studied specifically for prevention of preterm labor and birth, it should be. It’s a highly effective and rapid delivery method, and extremely cost effective. Dr. John Lee maintained that the only caveat for using progesterone cream is that it should not contain any active ingredients besides progesterone, such as other hormones or herbs. It would also be wise to find the cleanest, or most chemical-free cream possible.

More Information about Progesterone and Pregnancy

Progesterone Saliva Testing Used to Assess Preterm Birth Risk

Progesterone Cream and Pregnancy

Infertility: Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant

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