Last Update: 08/25/2006 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly   Email This Page Email This Page  

Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Unit (OPRU) Network

The NICHD Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Network, which was established with support from the Office of Research on Women’s Health to provide the expert infrastructure needed to test therapeutic drugs during pregnancy.  The Network allows researchers to conduct a whole new generation of safe, technically sophisticated, and complex studies that will help clinicians protect the health of women, while improving birth outcomes and reducing infant mortality.

Among one of the more recent projects of the Network is an effort to examine the safety and efficacy of glyburide, a drug used to control the blood sugar of pregnant women who have developed gestational diabetes. If untreated, gestational diabetes can cause problems for both mothers and infants. 

The Network is also set to launch a new clinical trial of 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17-αOHPC), a promising therapy for high-risk pregnant women. Past studies showed that weekly injections of the drug could reduce the risk of preterm birth by approximately one-third in women who had a history of preterm birth.  But, more data are needed on appropriate dosage, how the drug is metabolized during pregnancy, and the drug’s impact on the ability to monitor pregnancy by using a variety of biomarkers.