Women who have cesarean delivery can reduce infection rates by administering additional antibiotic azithromycin, finds a study conducted by an Indian origin researcher.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows adding the dose of 500 mg of azithromycin during a C-section also significantly decreases the use of health care resources, including re-admissions, emergency room visits and clinic visits.
"Infection during pregnancy and in the post-pregnancy period is a major health problem for both mom and baby, and a common underlying cause of death," said Alan T. N. Tita, Researcher, University of Alabama Birmingham, US.
Women who have a C-section are at significantly increased risk for infection compared to those who deliver vaginally, the study mentioned.
"When our group first developed the idea that a second antibiotic could help reduce infections for these women, we found reassurance in the fact that some patients who have pre-term premature rupture of the membranes receive two antibiotics to help reduce infection and prolong pregnancy," Tita added.
The research was conducted on 2,013 women who were more than 24-weeks' gestation and undergoing a C-section during labour or after membrane rupture.
A randomised group of patients received either the standard antibiotic regimen to prevent infection or a modified one with the additional azithromycin.
"These results are extremely important, given that the maternal death rate has increased and there is an urgent need for therapies to decrease serious complications that can lead to maternal deaths," said Uma Reddy, Managing Director, The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
The researchers revealed that the frequency of endometritis, an infection of the lining of the uterus and of the cesarean wound were decreased by 50 per cent in the women who received the adjunctive azithromycin compared to women who received the standard single antibiotic.
The babies who were delivered with the additional azithromycin did not have an increased risk of adverse events.
Further analyses indicated that the benefits associated with adjunctive azithromycin are consistent across several subgroups of patients. Additionally, hospital re-admission rates and unscheduled visits to a clinic or to the emergency room were reduced.
Inputs From IANS