Objective: To determine whether metronidazole reduces early preterm labour in asymptomatic women with positive vaginal fetal fibronectin (fFN) in the second trimester of pregnancy. Design: Randomised placebo-controlled trial. Setting: Fourteen UK hospitals (three teaching). Population: Pregnacies with at least one previous risk factor, including mid-trimester loss or preterm delivery, uterine abnormality, cervical surgery or cerclage. Methods: Nine hundred pregnancies were screened for fFN at 24 and 27 weeks of gestation. Positive cases were randomised to a week's course of oral metronidazole or placebo. Main outcome measures: Primary outcome was delivery before 30 weeks of gestation. Secondary outcomes included delivery before 37 weeks. Results: The Trial Steering Committee (TSC) recommended the study be stopped early; 21% of women receiving metronidazole (11/53) delivered before 30 weeks compared with 11% (5/46) taking placebo [risk ratio 1.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72-5.09, P= 0.18]. There were significantly more preterm deliveries (before 37 weeks) in women treated with metronidazole 33/53 (62%) versus placebo 18/46 (39%), risk ratio 1.6, 95% CI 1.05-2.4. fFN was a good predictor of early preterm birth in these asymptomatic women; positive and negative predictive values (24 weeks of gestation) for delivery by 30 weeks were 26% and 99%, respectively (positive and negative likelihood ratios 15, 0.35). Conclusion: Metronidazole does not reduce early preterm birth in high risk pregnant women selected by history and a positive vaginal fFN test. Preterm delivery may be increased by metronidazole therapy.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2006|
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