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Low-dose aspirin and preterm birth: a randomized controlled trial

Editor’s comment: Prof. Jim Thornton: Pre-conception aspirin and preterm birth
The Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGER) trial showed that low dose aspirin started pre-conception does not improve fertility rates or reduce miscarriage. The trial data are now being reanalysed for a number of secondary outcomes. This analysis tested the effect on preterm birth and found no significant effect.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
To evaluate the association between low-dose aspirin initiated before conception and the risk of preterm birth.

METHODS:
This was a secondary analysis of the Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction trial. Women with a history of pregnancy loss (original stratum: one loss less than 20 weeks of gestation during the previous year; expanded stratum: one or two losses with no restrictions on timing or gestational age of the losses) were randomized to either daily low-dose aspirin (81 mg, n=615) and folic acid or folic acid alone (placebo; n=613). Preterm birth was compared between groups using intent-to-treat analysis.

RESULTS:
Preterm birth rates were 4.1% (22/535 low-dose aspirin) and 5.7% (31/543 placebo) (relative risk [RR] 0.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.42-1.23); spontaneous preterm birth rates were 1.1% (6/535 low-dose aspirin) and 2.2% (12/543 placebo) (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.19-1.34); medically indicated preterm birth rates were 2.6% (14/535 low-dose aspirin) and 2.9% (16/543 placebo) (RR 0.89, 95% CI 0.44-1.80). After restriction to confirmed pregnancies using inverse probability weighting, preterm birth rates were 5.7% and 9.0% (RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.37-1.09) and spontaneous preterm birth rates were 1.4% and 3.2% (RR 0.44, 95% CI 0.17-1.18). In confirmed pregnancies in the original stratum, preterm birth occurred in 3.8% and 9.7% of the low-dose aspirin and placebo groups, respectively (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.16-0.94).

CONCLUSION:
Preconception low-dose aspirin was not significantly associated with the overall rate of preterm birth. Although the study was underpowered for this secondary analysis, numeric trends in favor of benefit, particularly in the women with a recent, single early pregnancy loss, warrant further investigation.

CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov, www.clinicaltrials.gov, NCT00467363.

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Commentaries by Editor Prof. Jim Thornton