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Celebrex may be safe for preterm labor, preliminary study finds

St. Louis, Sept. 23, 2002 -- The drug celecoxib may be a safer alternative for treating preterm labor than traditional therapies, according to a preliminary study led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The study is published at the end of the month in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and appears on the journal's website today.

One of the established treatments to prevent preterm delivery is indomethacin, a drug used to slow uterine contractions and delay delivery. But indomethacin is associated with severe side effects. Recent research suggests that celecoxib, also known as celebrex, may be a safer alternative. This study is the first clinical trial testing celecoxib in pregnant women.

"Celecoxib appears to be safer, particularly for the fetus," says Yoel Sadovsky, M.D., director of the Division of Genetics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Ultrasound at the School of Medicine. "These preliminary results also suggest that celecoxib is just as effective, and we are currently planning a larger trial to further examine its effectiveness."

The study was a combined effort between Washington University and Northwestern University. Sadovsky, also associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and of cell biology and physiology, led the study. The first authors are Catherine S. Stika, M.D., at Northwestern University and Gilad A. Gross, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University.

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, about 1 in every 10 births in the United States occurs within the first 37 weeks of pregnancy and therefore is considered "preterm." Preterm labor is responsible for about 75 percent of newborn deaths not related to birth defects, and preterm infants often experience life-long complications.

Indomethacin, one of the standard drugs used to treat preterm labor, prevents the production of a type of p
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Contact: Gila Z. Reckess
reckessg@msnotes.wustl.edu
314-286-0109
Washington University School of Medicine
23-Sep-2002


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