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Is the Risk of Intrahepatic Cholestasis Increased with Supplemental Progesterone?

OBJECTIVE:  This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between supplemental progesterone use during pregnancy and the development of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).

STUDY DESIGN:  A retrospective, matched case-control study was conducted among a population of women who delivered at George Washington University Hospital (GW) between 2012 and 2022. Women diagnosed with ICP (cases) were identified using International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes, and data were collected via chart abstraction. Descriptive data included patient demographics, pregnancy characteristics, and medical history. Laboratory values related to ICP were collected. Cases were matched on a 1:3 ratio by maternal age, body mass index, and gravidarum to women who delivered at GW during the same month and did not carry a diagnosis of ICP (controls). A univariate logistic regression model was created to assess the use of supplemental progesterone between groups, adjusting for the use of assisted reproductive technology in the current pregnancy, and a history of liver disease.

RESULTS:  One hundred and twenty women who delivered during the study period were confirmed to have a diagnosis of ICP. Cases were matched with 360 controls and measures compared between the two groups. Cases were significantly more likely to have a history of liver disease (5.9 vs. 1.7%, p  = 0.0021), multiple gestation (10.0 vs. 3.3%, p  < 0.0001), a history of ICP in a previous pregnancy (10.0 vs. 0%, p  < 0.0001), and to have delivered at an earlier gestational age (mean 37.1 vs. 38.6 weeks, p  < 0.0001) as compared with controls. No differences were seen in the odds of supplemental progesterone use in both unadjusted and adjusted models (OR 1.14, 95% CI 0.30-4.34; adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR] 0.98 0.24-3.94).

CONCLUSION:  Contrary to recent evidence, no association was seen with the use of supplemental progesterone. It is possible that the associated risk with supplemental progesterone is dependent on medication formulation or route of administration.

KEY POINTS: · Supplemental progesterone use in pregnancy may increase the risk of developing ICP.. · Previous investigations of progesterone and ICP have demonstrated mixed results.. · The association may be dependent on the route of administration and formulation of progesterone..

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