Misoprostol for Prevention or Early Treatment

Investigator: Suellen Miller, PhD, CNM, MHA
Sponsor: Gynuity Health Projects

Location(s): India


This study compares two community-level strategies: selective administration of 800 mcg sublingual misoprostol to women at 350 mL blood loss for secondary prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) with universal use of 600 mcg oral misoprostol at the time of delivery for primary prevention of PPH. The study hypothesizes that at community-level births, secondary prevention for women is non-inferior (based on clinical parameters) to universal prophylaxis provided to women for primary prevention of PPH. This cluster-design non-inferiority trial has the potential to inform service delivery programs on clinical outcomes, program feasibility, cost and acceptability of two different community models of PPH care using misoprostol.

There is an absence of concrete data on the programmatic and cost-effectiveness of different service delivery models for prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage with misoprostol, prompting a discussion of whether resources are best spent on misoprostol for primary prevention at lower levels (with treatment carried out at higher levels via referral) or whether immediate proactive treatment strategies should be considered. As the training and policy implications of universal prevention versus selective treatment approaches vary, simple and effective service delivery models are urgently needed to help governments and organizations decide how to best focus their limited resources. This study proposes to study the efficacy of a hybrid strategy (i.e., secondary prevention) that combines elements of prevention and treatment. Results of this study could provide a new model of care that will medicate fewer women, save costs and address the clinical conundrum of guessing at the safety of administering a prevention dose of misoprostol followed quickly by a larger treatment dose.

This randomized cluster trial will recruit women with deliveries attended by auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) that occur at homes or at health sub-centers. ANMs will be randomized to administer the intervention as described in the primary or secondary prevention arm.