A new formulation of a drug to prevent excessive bleeding following childbirth could save thousands of women’s lives in low- and lower-middle-income countries, according to a study led by World Health Organisation (WHO) in collaboration with MSD for Mothers and Ferring Pharmaceuticals.
Currently, WHO recommends oxytocin as the first-choice drug for preventing excessive bleeding after childbirth. Oxytocin, however, must be stored and transported at 2–80C, which is hard to do, in many countries, depriving many women of access to this lifesaving drug.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has shown an alternative drug — heat-stable carbetocin — to be as safe and effective as oxytocin in preventing postpartum haemorrhage. This new formulation of carbetocin does not require refrigeration and retains its efficacy for at least 3 years stored at 30 degrees Celsius and 75% relative humidity.
Approximately 70,000 women die every year because of post-partum haemorrhage – increasing the risk that their babies also die within one month.