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What Is Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate Used For?

Hydroxyprogesterone caproate is a drug that helps reduce the risk of delivering a baby too soon. It is approved for women who have spontaneously delivered prematurely in the past, are at least 16 years old, and are pregnant with just one baby. "Off-label" (unapproved) uses of hydroxyprogesterone caproate are sometimes recommended, such as preventing preterm birth in women carrying more than one baby.

An Overview of Uses for Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate

Hydroxyprogesterone caproate (Makena™) is a once-weekly injection used to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a history of giving birth to a baby too soon. It is started between weeks 16 and 21 of pregnancy and continued until 37 weeks. It is the first and only medication approved for this use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Specifically, hydroxyprogesterone caproate is approved for use in women who are pregnant with a single baby (not twins, triplets, or more) who have a history of spontaneous preterm birth. Spontaneous preterm birth is defined as giving birth to a baby earlier than 37 weeks in an unplanned, unintentional manner (sometimes, babies are delivered sooner intentionally for health reasons; this is not considered a spontaneous preterm birth).
There is no guarantee that receiving hydroxyprogesterone caproate injections will prevent preterm birth; however, studies have shown that it does reduce the risk. In other words, hydroxyprogesterone caproate cannot prevent all cases of preterm birth, but it can help reduce your chances of preterm birth.

How Does Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate Work?

Hydroxyprogesterone caproate is a synthetic (manufactured), long-acting version of progesterone, a hormone that is very important to maintaining a pregnancy. It is not yet known for certain how exactly the drug works to prevent preterm labor.

More Headlines in What Is Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate Used For?

‣ Can Children Use It?
‣ Is Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate Used for Off-Label Reasons?
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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