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Azithromycin Given in Labor Cuts Maternal, Neonatal Infections

Lower incidence of maternal infections and lower overall prevalence of infections among newborns


TUESDAY, Jan. 31, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Administration of azithromycin during labor is associated with a reduction in maternal and neonatal clinical infections, according to a study published online Jan. 27 in Pediatrics.

Claire Oluwalana, M.D., from the Medical Research Council Unit in Banjul, the Gambia, and colleagues conducted a randomized trial involving 829 Gambian women in labor. Participants were given an oral dose of azithromycin or placebo and were followed for up to eight weeks after delivery.

Eight infants died per arm during the follow-up period. There were no reports of maternal deaths or serious adverse events related to the intervention. The researchers found that the azithromycin group had a significantly lower incidence of maternal infections (3.6 versus 9.2 percent; relative risk [RR], 0.40; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.22 to 0.71; P = 0.002) and significantly lower prevalence of mastitis (1.4 versus 5.1 percent; RR, 0.29; 95 percent CI, 0.12 to 0.70; P = 0.005) and fever (1.9 versus 5.8 percent; RR, 0.33; 95 percent CI, 0.15 to 0.74; P = 0.006). In the azithromycin group, newborns had a lower overall prevalence of infections (18.1 versus 23.8 percent; RR, 0.76; 95 percent CI, 0.58 to 0.99; P = 0.052) and skin infections (3.1 versus 6.4 percent; RR, 0.49; 95 percent CI, 0.25 to 0.93; P = 0.34).

"Azithromycin given to women in labor decreases infections in both women and newborns during the puerperal period," the authors write.

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