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Maternal deaths: New inhaled form of medication a miracle for expecting moms?

According to the researchers at Monash University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) in Australia, the inhalable, dry-powder form of the drug oxytocin may help prevent mothers from dying in childbirth due to more bleeding than normal.

Maternal deaths: New inhaled form of medication a miracle for expecting moms?

New Delhi: A new, inhaled form of a medicine has been shown to significantly reduce maternal deaths in a first in a human trial.

According to the researchers at Monash University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) in Australia, the inhalable, dry-powder form of the drug oxytocin may help prevent mothers from dying in childbirth due to more bleeding than normal.

Oxytocin, which is already used as an injection to prevent maternal deaths due to postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) or postpartum bleeding in wealthy countries, may be of particular relevance for low and low-middle income countries, they said.

 

However, as an injection, oxytocin requires refrigeration and a skilled medical professional to administer it safely.

In low and low-middle income countries, one or both of these requirements may not be available.

Every year, over 300,000 women in low and low-middle income countries die during pregnancy and childbirth, with postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is the single largest cause of these deaths.

This first in-human data offers hope to women in resource-constrained settings who do not currently have access to this essential medicine, said Michelle McIntosh, project leader at Monash University Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Australia.

"These results show that oxytocin can be delivered similarly via inhalation or injection and, therefore, we are less likely to be required to conduct the extensive and costly trials needed for an entirely new drug," McIntosh said.

The study demonstrated, in a small cohort of non-pregnant female volunteers, that the effects that inhaled oxytocin has on the body are not meaningfully different from its injected counterpart.

Researchers at MIPS, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline in London, developed the inhalable, dry-powder form of oxytocin.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, out of which 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

The results of the first in-human trial of the new formulation were announced on Tuesday at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa.

(With IANS inputs)