The leading UK preganancy and baby loss charity Tommy’s have said with the approval of the hormonal drug, as many as 8,450 miscarrages a year could be prevented.
NICE has issued an update to its guidance on threatened miscarriage which details that certain women can take progesterone to help prevent pregnancy loss. Women who have previously had a miscarriage and have a pregnancy confirmed by scan, and are bleeding, can be offered 400mg of micronised progesterone twice daily. NICE has called for further research into this area.
If a foetal heartbeat is confirmed, NICE recommends that treatment with progesterone should continue until 16 weeks of pregnancy have been completed.
NICE estimates that roughly 1,200 women with prior miscarriage and bleeding in early pregnancy could be eligible for treatment with progesterone each year, while Tommy’s charity have said that it could prevent as many as 8,450 miscarriages per year.
Although there is no evidence of harm to the mother or baby from the use of progesterone, the evidence is insufficient in ruling out the possibility of rare adverse events.
Regarding the NICE approval, Tommy’s Chief Executive Jane Brewin said:"It's great to see NICE taking our progesterone research on board in their new miscarriage care guidelines, which will help save babies' lives and spare parents heartache.
"Miscarriage is often dismissed as 'one of those things' we can't do anything about - even by some healthcare professionals, who may not specialise in this area to know the latest evidence.
"We hear from women who were denied progesterone treatment when they should have been eligible, simply because their doctor wasn't familiar with it, so we hope NICE’s recommendation will help end some of these inequalities in miscarriage care that add more pain to an already unbearable experience."
According to the NHS, it is estimated that about one in eight pregnancies will end in miscarriage and many more miscarriages happen before a woman is even aware she has become pregnant.