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Methotrexate versus expectant management for treatment of tubal ectopic pregnancy: An individual participant data meta-analysis

Solangon, Sarah Annie; Van Wely, Madelon; Van Mello, Norah; Mol, Ben; Ross, Jackie; Jurkovic, Davor; (2023) Methotrexate versus expectant management for treatment of tubal ectopic pregnancy: An individual participant data meta-analysis. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 10.1111/aogs.14617. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Ectopic pregnancy is an important health condition which affects up to 1 in 100 women. Women who present with mild symptoms and low serum human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) are often treated with methotrexate (MTX), but expectant management with close monitoring is a feasible alternative. Studies comparing the two treatments have not shown a statistically significant difference in uneventful resolution of ectopic pregnancy, but these studies were too small to define whether certain subgroups could benefit more from either treatment. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis (IPD-MA) of randomized controlled trials comparing systemic MTX and expectant management in women with tubal ectopic pregnancy and low hCG (<2000 IU/L). A one-stage IPD-MA was performed to assess overall treatment effects of MTX and expectant management to generate a pooled intervention effect. Subgroup analyses and exploratory multivariable analyses were undertaken according to baseline serum hCG and progesterone levels. Primary outcome was treatment success, defined as resolution of clinical symptoms and decline in level of serum hCG to <20 IU/L, or a negative urine pregnancy test by the initial intervention strategy, without any additional treatment. Secondary outcomes were need for blood transfusion, surgical intervention, additional MTX side-effects and hCG resolution times. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: PROSPERO: CRD42021214093. RESULTS: 1547 studies reviewed and 821 remained after duplicates removed. Five studies screened for eligibility and three IPD requested. Two randomized controlled trials supplied IPD, leading to 153 participants for analysis. Treatment success rate was 65/82 (79.3%) after MTX and 48/70 (68.6%) after expectant management (IPD risk ratio [RR] 1.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.95-1.40). Surgical intervention rates were not significantly different: 8/82 (9.8%) vs 13/70 (18.6%) (RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.23-1.14). Mean time to success was 19.7 days (95% CI 17.4-22.3) after MTX and 21.2 days (95% CI 17.8-25.2) after expectant management (P = 0.25). MTX specific side-effects were reported in 33 MTX compared to four in the expectant group. CONCLUSIONS: Our IPD-MA showed no statistically significant difference in treatment efficacy between MTX and expectant management in women with tubal ectopic pregnancy with low hCG. Initial expectant management could be the preferred strategy due to fewer side-effects.

Type: Article
Title: Methotrexate versus expectant management for treatment of tubal ectopic pregnancy: An individual participant data meta-analysis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/aogs.14617
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/aogs.14617
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology (NFOG). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Keywords: expectant management, medical treatment, methotrexate, pregnancy ectopic, pregnancy tubal
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10172394
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