Repeated fetal losses associated with antiphospholipid antibodies: a collaborative randomized trial comparing prednisone with low-dose heparin treatment

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 May;166(5):1318-23. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(92)91596-3.


Objective: We attempted to compare the use of low-dose heparin with a standard dose of 40 mg prednisone daily (both plus low-dose aspirin) for treatment of pregnant women with antiphospholipid antibody-associated recurrent fetal loss with respect to maternal and perinatal morbidity and efficacy in prevention of fetal death.

Study design: A multicenter randomized trial included 20 patients. Generalizability of results from randomized patients was evaluated by means of additional data from 13 women refusing and 12 women ineligible for randomization. Data from study groups were compared with Fisher's exact test, and generalizability was evaluated with a chi 2 test for trend.

Results: Live birth rates were the same (75%) with either treatment, but "serious" maternal morbidity and the frequency of preterm delivery were significantly higher among women randomly assigned to prednisone (p = 0.02 vs p = 0.006). Preterm delivery among prednisone-treated women was usually associated with premature rupture of the membranes or preeclampsia. These results could be generalized to the other groups of women ascertained during the course of the study.

Conclusions: Low-dose heparin should be preferred to prednisone when treatment is indicated for high-risk pregnant women with antiphospholipid antibodies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Habitual / drug therapy
  • Abortion, Habitual / immunology*
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Antiphospholipid Syndrome / immunology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Pre-Eclampsia / complications
  • Prednisone / administration & dosage
  • Prednisone / adverse effects
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome


  • Heparin
  • Prednisone