Prophylactic interventions after delivery of placenta for reducing bleeding during the postnatal period

RHL Summary

24 February 2014
A mother and newborn baby in a clinic, Uganda
World Bank/Arne Hoel

Findings of the review: This review aimed to assess prophylactic use of agents such as ergotamine, ergometrine, methylergometrine, herbal therapies and homoeopathic remedies administered after delivery of placenta for prevention of postpartum haemorrhage. The five included randomized controlled trials (1466 women) were of unclear risk of bias and had been undertaken in high-income countries. The outcomes relevant to the review were extracted from two studies that had compared oral methylergometrine with placebo (1097 women) and one study that had compared it with Japanese herbal medication (171 women). No difference was found in blood loss (≥500 ml) and amount of loachia within 72 hours postpartum or at four weeks postpartum. Oral methylergometrine increased the blood heamoglobin concentration at day one postpartum compared with Japanese herbal medication. The adverse effects were not reported.

Implementation: At the present time there is no evidence to recommend prophylactic use of oral methylergometrine, herbal or homoeopathic medication after delivery of placenta to prevent postpartum haemorrhage. Further well-designed trials are needed in this area.


Cochrane review

Citation: Yaju Y, Kataoka Y, Eto H, Horiuchi S, Mori R. Prophylactic inter ventions after delivery of placenta for reducing bleeding during the postnatal period. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 11. Art. No.: CD009328. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009328.pub2.

Abstract

Background

There are several Cochrane systematic reviews looking at postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) prophylaxis in the third stage of labour and another Cochrane review investigating the timing of prophylactic uterotonics in the third stage of labour (i.e. before or after delivery of the placenta). There are, however, no Cochrane reviews looking at the use of interventions given purely after delivery of the placenta. Ergometrine or methylergometrine are used for the prevention of PPH in the postpartum period (the period after delivery of the infant) after delivery of the placenta in some countries. There are, furthermore, no Cochrane reviews that have so far considered herbal therapies or homeopathic remedies for the prevention of PPH after delivery of the placenta.

Objectives

To assess the effectiveness of available prophylactic interventions for PPH including prophylactic use of ergotamine, ergometrine, methylergometrine, herbal therapies, and homeopathic remedies, administered after delivery of the placenta, compared with no uterotonic agents as well as with different routes of administration for prevention of PPH after delivery of the placenta.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 April 2013), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (USA), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) (UK), European Medicines Agency (EMA) (EU), Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA) (Japan), Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (Australia), ClinicalTrials.gov, Current Controlled Trials, WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR; Japan), Japan Pharmaceutical Information Center Clinical Trials Information (Japic-CTI; Japan), Japan Medical Association Clinical Trial Registration (JMACCT CTR; Japan) (all on 30 April 2013) and reference lists of retrieved studies

Selection criteria

All randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials comparing prophylactic ergotamine, ergometrine, methylergometrine, herbal therapies, and homeopathic remedies (using any route and timing of administration) during the postpartum period after delivery of the placenta with no uterotonic agents or trials comparing different routes or timing of administration of ergotamine, ergometrine, methylergometrine, herbal therapies, and homeopathic remedies, during the postpartum period after delivery of the placenta.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently assessed trial eligibility and the methodological quality of trials, extracted data using the agreed form. Data were checked for accuracy.

Main results

Five randomised studies involving 1466 women met the inclusion criteria. All studies were classified as having an unclear risk of bias. Two studies (involving 1097 women) compared oral methylergometrine with a placebo, and one (involving 171 women) compared oral methylergometrine with Kyuki-chouketsu-in, a Japanese traditional herbal medicine. The remaining two studies (involving 198 women) did not report the outcomes of interest for this review. None of the included studies reported primary outcomes prespecified in the review protocol (blood loss of 1000 mL or more over the period of observation, maternal death or severe morbidity). Overall, there was no clear evidence of differences between groups in the following PPH outcomes: blood loss of 500 mL or more (risk ratio (RR) 1.45; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.39 to 5.47, two studies), amount of lochia during the first 72 hours of the puerperium (mean difference (MD) -25.00 g; 95% CI -69.79 to 19.79, one study), or amount of lochia by four weeks postpartum (MD -7.00 g; 95% CI -23.99 to 9.99).

The Japanese study with a relatively small sample size comparing oral methylergometrine with a Japanese traditional herbal medicine found that oral methylergometrine significantly increased the blood haemoglobin concentration at day one postpartum (MD 0.50 g/dL; 95% CI 0.11 to 0.89) compared to herbal medicine. Adverse events were not well-reported in the included studies. We did not find any studies comparing homeopathic remedies with either a placebo or no treatment.

Authors' conclusions

There was insufficient evidence to support the use of prophylactic oral methylergometrine given after delivery of the placenta for the prevention of PPH. Additionally, the effectiveness of prophylactic use of herbal medicine or homeopathic remedies for PPH is still unclear as we could not find any clear evidence. Trials to assess the effectiveness of herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies in preventing PPH are warranted.

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