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Antithrombotic therapy for miscarriage fails in study

March 24, 2010 |  2:00 pm

There is a real dearth of answers for the many women who have repeated miscarriages. Five percent of reproductive-age women have two or more known miscarriages and 1% have at least three. The reasons for many miscarriages are unknown, although doctors have long suspected that blood clotting disorders are the cause of at least some.

A new study, however, casts doubt on antithrombotic therapy -- therapy to reduce clotting -- for women with recurrent miscarriages. The research, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, assigned 299 pregnant women to either aspirin and heparin (a blood-thinner), aspirin alone or a placebo. The trial was stopped early because there were no differences in the miscarriage rates in the three groups. A previous randomized, controlled trial in Scotland also found the therapy is ineffective.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Dr. Ian Greer, a pregnancy expert at the University of York, United Kingdom, says that antithrombotic therapy may still help some women who have a known tendency to form blood clots although more research is needed on those women. But, he wrote: "The widespread use of antithrombotic interventions for women with two or more miscarriages appears to be no more than another false start in the race to identify an effective intervention for this distressing condition that affects so many women."

-- Shari Roan