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What Is Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Hydroxyprogesterone caproate is an injectible prescription medication that is designed to lower the risk of preterm birth in women who have given birth to a premature baby in the past. This hormonal drug is approved only for use among women who are pregnant with a single baby and does not stop preterm labor if it is already in progress. Some of the possible side effects of this medication include fluid retention, high blood pressure, and the development of blood clots. Depression, gastrointestinal disturbances, and allergic reactions are also possible when taking this medication. Any specific questions or concerns about the use of hydroxyprogesterone caproate should be discussed with the supervising obstetrician or another member of the medical staff.

A pregnant woman who has a history of delivering a preterm baby may be given hydroxyprogesterone caproate injections in order to reduce the risks of delivering too early again. These injections are usually given in the doctor's office every seven days and typically begin between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy. Individual situations may vary, so it is important to carefully follow the instructions given by the doctor.

The use of hydroxyprogesterone caproate is approved only for women who are carrying a single fetus. Those who are carrying multiples, such as twins or triplets, are not candidates for this medication. While this drug is used to help prevent premature labor, it is not able to stop preterm labor once it begins.

There are several possible side effects of using hydroxyprogesterone caproate, so it is important to discuss the benefits and risks with a doctor before beginning the injections. The patient will be closely monitored by the medical staff, and any new or bothersome symptoms that develop after treatment has begun should be reported to the doctor for further evaluation. Some of the most frequently reported side effects of hydroxyprogesterone caproate include high blood pressure, blood clots, and fluid retention.

Additional side effects of hydroxyprogesterone caproate may include nausea, vomiting, or abdominal cramps. Depression, vaginal bleeding, and symptoms of an allergic reaction are also possible when using this drug. Chest pain, facial swelling, or difficulty breathing may be signs of a potentially fatal type of allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis and should be treated as a medical emergency. Dark urine or a yellowing of the skin or eyes may indicate problems with the kidneys or liver and should be evaluated by a doctor right away.

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