If you have had a spontaneous preterm birth in the past, your healthcare provider may recommend the drug Makena to reduce your risk of it happening again. This medication is a long-acting, synthetic version of progesterone, which is a very important hormone in maintaining a pregnancy. Makena is not approved for use in women who are pregnant with more than one baby (twins, triplets, etc.).
Makena™ (hydroxyprogesterone caproate) is a once-weekly injection used to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a history of giving birth to a baby too soon. It is started between weeks 16 and 21 of pregnancy and continued until 37 weeks. It is the first and only medication approved for this use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Specifically, Makena is approved for use in women who are pregnant with a single baby (not twins, triplets, or more) who have a history of spontaneous preterm birth. Spontaneous preterm birth is defined as giving birth to a baby earlier than 37 weeks in an unplanned, unintentional manner (sometimes, babies are delivered sooner intentionally for health reasons; this is not considered a spontaneous preterm birth).
There is no guarantee that receiving Makena injections will prevent preterm birth; however, studies have shown that it does reduce the risk. In other words, Makena cannot prevent all cases of preterm birth, but it can help reduce your chances of preterm birth.
Makena is a synthetic (manufactured), long-acting version of progesterone, a hormone that is very important to maintaining a pregnancy. It is not yet known for certain exactly how the drug works to prevent preterm labor.