BACKGROUND: Preterm birth is the most common cause of death and harm to newborn babies. Babies that are born early may have difficulties at birth and experience health problems during early childhood. Despite extensive study, there is still uncertainty about the effectiveness of progestogen (medications that are similar to the natural hormone progesterone) in preventing or delaying preterm birth, and in improving birth outcomes. The Evaluating Progestogen for Prevention of Preterm birth International Collaborative (EPPPIC) project aims to reduce uncertainty about the specific conditions in which progestogen may (or may not) be effective in preventing or delaying preterm birth and improving birth outcomes.
METHODS: The design of the study involves international collaborative individual participant data meta-analysis comprising systematic review, re-analysis, and synthesis of trial datasets. Inclusion criteria are as follows: randomized controlled trials comparing progestogen versus placebo or non-intervention, or comparing different types of progestogen, in asymptomatic women at risk of preterm birth. Main outcomes are as follows; fetal/infant death, preterm birth or fetal death (<=37 weeks, <=34 weeks, <= 28 weeks), serious neonatal complications or fetal/infant death, neurosensory disability (measured at 18 months or later) or infant/child death, important maternal morbidity, or maternal death. In statistical methods, IPD will be synthesized across trials using meta-analysis. Both 'two-stage' models (where effect estimates are calculated for each trial and subsequently pooled in a meta-analysis) and 'one-stage' models (where all IPD from all trials are analyzed in one step, while accounting for the clustering of participants within trials) will be used. If sufficient suitable data are available, a network meta-analysis will compare all types of progesterone and routes of administration extending the one-stage models to include multiple treatment arms.
DISCUSSION: EPPPIC is an international collaborative project being conducted by the forming EPPPIC group, which includes trial investigators, an international secretariat, and the research project team. Results, which are intended to contribute to improvements in maternal and child health, are expected to be publicly available in mid 2018.
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42017068299.
Bibliographical note© The Author(s). 2017.
- Journal Article