Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2011  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 155--156

Combination of aspirin and heparin in unexplained recurrent miscarriages - "Empirical or evidence based"


Prakriti Jain, Sneha Badwe Dhodapkar, Mary Daniel 
 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Prakriti Jain
HIG 251, Thiruvikas Street, Ashok Nagar, Lawspet, Puducherry - 605 008
India




How to cite this article:
Jain P, Dhodapkar SB, Daniel M. Combination of aspirin and heparin in unexplained recurrent miscarriages - "Empirical or evidence based".J Hum Reprod Sci 2011;4:155-156


How to cite this URL:
Jain P, Dhodapkar SB, Daniel M. Combination of aspirin and heparin in unexplained recurrent miscarriages - "Empirical or evidence based". J Hum Reprod Sci [serial online] 2011 [cited 2022 Oct 3 ];4:155-156
Available from: https://www.jhrsonline.org/text.asp?2011/4/3/155/92293


Full Text

Sir,

Recurrent miscarriage is defined as three or more miscarriages before 20 weeks of gestation. Only 1% couples are affected by this problem which increases to 5% if couples with two miscarriages are included. Many causes have been implicated including chromosomal abnormalities, uterine structural anomalies, leuteal phase defects, thrombophilias, and immunological and endocrinological causes. Even after evaluating the cause, in over 50% of cases it remains unexplained. How to treat such patients is a difficult situation for the physicians.

A combination of low-molecular-weight heparin and aspirin in recurrent miscarriage with antiphospholipid antibodies has become a routine practice. This treatment is being commonly used for unexplained miscarriages in clinical practice without proper evidence. The possible mechanism of unexplained miscarriages guiding the use of this regime is that it is a prothromobotic phenotype. Moreover, not only the thrombosis in the decidual vessels but also the adverse effect of coagulation cascade activation on developing trophoblasts may result in a miscarriage. [1]

Recently, the Anticoagulant for Living Fetus (ALIFE) study, a large randomized trial by Kaandorp et al., has given significant insights on the use of this regime in unexplained recurrent miscarriages. This trial included 364 patients with two or more recurrent abortion, who were attempting to conceive or had pregnancy of less than 6 weeks. They were randomized into three subgroups of aspirin and LMWH (nadroparin 2850 IU subcutaneously), aspirin only and placebo groups. Aspirin was started as soon as patient was randomized and LMWH was started at 6 weeks after confirming viability. They concluded that the live birth rates among the three groups were almost similar and there was no advantage of treatment over placebo. The proportion of women who gave birth to a live infant was 54.5% in the group receiving aspirin plus nadroparin (combination therapy group), 50.8% in the aspirin-only group, and 57.0% in the placebo group (absolute difference in live birth rate: Combination therapy versus placebo, −2.6 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −15.0 to 9.9; aspirin only versus placebo, −6.2 percentage points; 95% CI, −18.8 to 6.4). Among 299 women who became pregnant, the live birth rate was 69.1% in the combination therapy group, 61.6% in the aspirin-only group, and 67.0% in the placebo group (absolute difference in live birth rate: Combination therapy versus placebo, 2.1 percentage points; 95% CI, −10.8 to 15.0; aspirin alone versus placebo −5.4 percentage points; 95% CI, −18.6 to 7.8). [2] In conclusion, neither aspirin combined with nadroparin nor aspirin alone improved the live birth rate, as compared with placebo, among women with unexplained recurrent miscarriages. According to the authors, a study reports that in thrombodulin-deficient mice, aspirin and heparin did not reverse the defective trophoblastic differentiation or embryonic growth defect. This supports their study that all unexplained miscarriages cannot be attributed to thrombosis. Similar results were produced by the Scottish Pregnancy Intervention Study in which there was no benefit of LMWH (enoxaparin 40 mg) plus aspirin with surveillance over only surveillance in live birth rates among patients with two or more miscarriages. [3]

Reviewing various trials, heparin plus low-dose aspirin is only recommended in diagnosed antiphospholipid antibody syndrome and not in unexplained miscarriages. [4] The Green Top RCOG Guidelines revised recently have also included that women with unexplained recurrent miscarriages have an excellent prognosis for the future pregnancy outcome without pharmacological intervention. Based on these two randomized trials, they have suggested that the use of empirical treatment in women with unexplained recurrent miscarriages is unnecessary and should be resisted. [5] Therefore, the usual practice of prescribing this should be seriously looked into as this regime unnecessarily increases the cost. Moreover, it is troublesome to take injections daily, and often, bruise or swelling and itching are noted at the injection site.

Further research is warranted in this field. Only LMWH without aspirin trials are in progress. Further researches should also include newer treatment options based on different mechanisms such as TNF-alpha inhibitors and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor. [6]

References

1Greer IA. Antithrombotic therapy for recurrent miscarriage? N Engl J Med 2010;362:1630-1.
2Kaandorp SP, Goddijn M, Van der Post JA, Hutten BA, Verhoeye HR, Hanulyak K, et al. Aspirin plus heparin or aspirin alone in women with recurrent miscarriage. N Engl J Med 2010;362:1586-96.
3Clark P, Walker ID, Langhorne P, Crichton L, Thomson A, Greaves M, et al. SPIN (Scottish Pregnancy Intervention) study: A multicenter, randomized controlled trial of low-molecular-weight heparin and low-dose aspirin in women with recurrent miscarriage. Blood 2010;115:4162-7.
4Ware BD, Gibson M, Silver RM. Recurrent miscarriage. N Engl J Med 2010;363:1740-7.
5Regan L, Backos M, Rai R. The investigation and treatment of couples with recurrent first-trimester and second-trimester miscarriage. The Green Top guideline 2011;17:1-18.
6Toth B, Jeschke U, Rogenhofer N, Scholz C, Würfel W, Thaler CJ, et al. Recurrent miscarriage: Current concepts in diagnosis and treatment. J Reprod Immunol 2010;85:25-32.