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SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Makena (hydroxyprogesterone caproate) injection to reduce the risk of preterm delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy, in pregnant women with a history of at least one spontaneous preterm birth.  

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The drug is not intended for use in women with a multiple pregnancy, such as a twin pregnancy, or other risk factors for preterm birth.  

The FDA approved Makena under the agency's accelerated approval regulations that allow promising drugs to be approved based on a surrogate endpoint benefit (here, reducing the risk of delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy) that is reasonably likely to predict a clinical benefit.

Under these regulations, the manufacturer must conduct additional studies after the product is approved to demonstrate that the drug does, in fact, have a clinical benefit.  An international trial is ongoing to learn if there is also improvement in the outcome of babies born to women given Makena. Such outcomes include reducing the number of babies who do not survive or who suffer serious health problems shortly after birth.  

"Preterm birth is a significant public health issue in the United States," said Sandra Kweder, M.D., deputy director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "This is the first drug approved by the FDA that is indicated to specifically reduce this risk."

A health care provider would give Makena once a week by injection into the hip. Treatment should begin at 16 weeks and no later than 21 weeks of pregnancy.

The FDA reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of Makena in a multicenter randomized double-blind clinical trial. The study included 463 women 16 to 43 years of age who were pregnan

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