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Drug to Prevent Preterm Birth May Raise Diabetes Risk

Women treated with 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate should be screened for signs of diabetes

THURSDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Using 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) to prevent recurrent preterm delivery may raise the risk of gestational diabetes, according to a report in the September issue of Diabetes Care.

Andrei Rebarber, M.D., of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and colleagues conducted a study of 557 women with a history of preterm delivery who were given prophylactic intramuscular injections of 17P between 16 and 20.9 weeks' gestation, and 1,524 healthy controls of similar maternal age and body mass index. The study excluded women with pre-existing diabetes.

Among women in the 17P group, there was a 12.9 percent incidence of gestational diabetes, versus 4.9 percent in the control group. While the authors acknowledge the importance of reducing the number of preterm births and the role of progesterone in achieving this, they also highlight the dangers of gestational diabetes.

"Gestational diabetes mellitus, particularly if uncontrolled, is associated with an increased risk of perinatal morbidity," they write. "It is therefore prudent to investigate the impact of weekly supplemental 17P on the incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus, particularly given its newfound popularity."

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