A Randomized Trial of Progesterone in Women with Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

Arri Coomarasamy, Adam J Devall, Versha Cheed, Hoda Harb, Lee J Middleton, Ioannis D Gallos, Helen Williams, Abey K Eapen, Tracy Roberts, Chriscasimir C Ogwulu, Ilias Goranitis, Jane P Daniels, Amna Ahmed, Ruth Bender-Atik, Kalsang Bhatia, Cecilia Bottomley, Jane Brewin, Meenakshi Choudhary, Fiona Crosfill, Shilpa DebW Colin Duncan, Andrew Ewer, Kim Hinshaw, Tom Holland, Feras Izzat, Jemma Johns, Kathiuska Kriedt, Mary-Ann Lumsden, Padma Manda, Jane E Norman, Natalie Nunes, Caroline E Overton, Siobhan Quenby, Sandhya Rao, Jackie Ross, Anupama Shahid, Martyn Underwood, Nirmala Vaithilingam, Linda Watkins, Catherine Wykes, Andrew Horne, Davor Jurkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Bleeding in early pregnancy is strongly associated with pregnancy loss. Progesterone is essential for the maintenance of pregnancy. Several small trials have suggested that progesterone therapy may improve pregnancy outcomes in women who have bleeding in early pregnancy.

METHODS: We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate progesterone, as compared with placebo, in women with vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy. Women were randomly assigned to receive vaginal suppositories containing either 400 mg of progesterone or matching placebo twice daily, from the time at which they presented with bleeding through 16 weeks of gestation. The primary outcome was the birth of a live-born baby after at least 34 weeks of gestation. The primary analysis was performed in all participants for whom data on the primary outcome were available. A sensitivity analysis of the primary outcome that included all the participants was performed with the use of multiple imputation to account for missing data.

RESULTS: A total of 4153 women, recruited at 48 hospitals in the United Kingdom, were randomly assigned to receive progesterone (2079 women) or placebo (2074 women). The percentage of women with available data for the primary outcome was 97% (4038 of 4153 women). The incidence of live births after at least 34 weeks of gestation was 75% (1513 of 2025 women) in the progesterone group and 72% (1459 of 2013 women) in the placebo group (relative rate, 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.00 to 1.07; P = 0.08). The sensitivity analysis, in which missing primary outcome data were imputed, resulted in a similar finding (relative rate, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.07; P = 0.08). The incidence of adverse events did not differ significantly between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Among women with bleeding in early pregnancy, progesterone therapy administered during the first trimester did not result in a significantly higher incidence of live births than placebo. (Funded by the United Kingdom National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment program; PRISM Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN14163439.).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1815-1824
Number of pages10
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2019 Massachusetts Medical Society.


  • Abortion, Spontaneous/prevention & control
  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Live Birth
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/diagnostic imaging
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Progesterone/administration & dosage
  • Progestins/administration & dosage
  • Treatment Failure
  • Uterine Hemorrhage/drug therapy


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