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Oxytocin Not Found to Aid Removal of Retained Placenta

Need for manual removal of placenta similar after oxytocin or saline injection

TUESDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A high-dose injection of oxytocin into the placenta of women with a retained placenta does not reduce the need for manual removal, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in The Lancet.

Andrew D. Weeks, from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and colleagues randomly assigned 577 hemodynamically stable women with a retained placenta in three countries (United Kingdom, Uganda, Pakistan) to an injection of either saline or high-dose oxytocin (50 IU) into the placenta through the umbilical vein.

The researchers found that the need for manual removal of the placenta was similar in the oxytocin and saline groups (61.3 versus 62.1 percent; relative risk, 0.98). The need for manual removal was highest in the United Kingdom (69 percent) and lowest in Uganda (47 percent). Adverse events were similar in the two groups. A meta-analysis of published studies showed that the results were consistent with previous trials.

"Umbilical oxytocin has no clinically significant effect on the need for manual removal for women with retained placenta," Weeks and colleagues conclude. "These findings accord with a review in which rates of retained placenta in the United Kingdom are seen to be rising with time and seem to be greater in high-resource settings than in low-resource settings."

Alliance Pharmaceuticals donated and prepared the oxytocin and placebo vials.

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