Sunday 22 September 2019

Clinical trial investigates if everyday antibiotic can reduce miscarriages

Treating endometritis with antibiotics may reduce the condition by reducing disruptive bacteria and allowing the healthy bacteria to grow. Stock Image
Treating endometritis with antibiotics may reduce the condition by reducing disruptive bacteria and allowing the healthy bacteria to grow. Stock Image

Nina Massey

A world-first clinical trial will examine whether an everyday antibiotic could help reduce recurrent miscarriage.

Scientists hope it will result in a potential new test and treatment for the condition which causes heartbreak as people endure repeated loss.

It is thought it could help half of women with recurrent miscarriage.

Researchers do not know what causes the inflammation in the womb that leads to the rejection of the foetus, but one suggestion is that it could be a lingering infection the woman has picked up.

In some women, the lining of the womb (the endometrium) is inflamed, a condition called endometritis.

Experts also suspect endometritis may be caused by an imbalance of the bacteria that live in the reproductive tract.

A healthy endometrium is important for the embryo to be able to attach to the womb and it is thought that endometritis disrupts this process, and can lead to a miscarriage.

Treating endometritis with antibiotics may reduce the condition by reducing disruptive bacteria and allowing the healthy bacteria to grow.

Professor Siobhan Quenby, principal investigator on the trial, said: "This is potentially a new treatment for up to half of people with recurrent miscarriage.

"We know that doxycycline is given to some women experiencing miscarriage in other countries, but there has never been a proper trial conducted.

"And instead of just having your blood tested to look for causes of miscarriage, as is current practice, you will have the lining of the womb tested too so that we can identify those who will benefit from this treatment. Our aim is to try to improve the womb before you get pregnant.

"Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester - 12 weeks - of pregnancy and our aim is to see a reduction in these early miscarriages."

The research will be conducted by the University of Warwick in partnership with University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS trust in the UK. It will investigate whether a course of antibiotics prior to conceiving could reduce the likelihood of miscarriage in up to 50pc of cases.

The trial aims to discover whether using the antibiotic doxycycline - often used to treat chest and skin infections - in women with the condition endometritis can improve their chances of having a baby.

In America and Germany, the antibiotic is already used to treat recurrent miscarriage by improving the balance of bacteria present in their reproductive system.

Prof Quenby added that often people are left feeling there is nothing they can do, and the trial offered them a positive course of action.

The trial has received £1.9m in funding and will involve more than 3,000 women in NHS hospitals in the UK who have recurrent miscarriage.

Irish Independent

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