Single dose of Azithromycin prevents maternal sepsis and death

13 Feb 2023 • A single oral dose of the antibiotic azithromycin can reduce the risk of postpartum sepsis and death among women who deliver vaginally by one-third, according to a large multi-country clinical trial by the NIH. Only 1.6% of women in the study who received azithromycin during labor developed sepsis or died within six weeks after delivery, compared to 2.4% of those who received placebo. Azithromycin did not reduce the risk of stillbirth, newborn sepsis or newborn death. Results from the study, which enrolled more than 29,000 women in seven low- and middle-income countries, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Within the first six weeks after delivery, 227 of 14,526 participants (1.6%) who received azithromycin developed sepsis or died, compared to 344 of 14,637 (2.4%) in the placebo group. Deaths were rare in both groups. Sepsis occurred in 219 participants in the azithromycin group (1.5%) and 339 in the placebo group (2.3%). Additionally, women who received azithromycin were less likely to develop endometritis (infection of the lining of the womb) and other infections. They also had fewer hospital readmissions and unscheduled healthcare visits, compared to the placebo group.

These findings have the potential to change clinical practice by providing a safe, effective and low-cost approach to reduce the global burden of maternal sepsis and death especially in low & middle income countries.

Source: NIH | Read full story

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