Cheaper progesterone for women as effective as Makena

Progesterone vaginal suppositories offer an effective alternative to the highly touted, expensive drug Makena in preventing preterm birth – and at a fraction of the cost, says UT Southwestern Medical Center obstetrician Dr. Gary Cunningham.

That’s good news for women at risk for preterm birth, since it costs just $10 to $20 for a seven-day treatment of progesterone vaginal suppositories compared with about $690 per dose of Makena. Women at risk for preterm birth could easily spend up to $30,000 for the weekly injections of Makena throughout their pregnancy.

Scientific studies show similar effectiveness for either daily progesterone vaginal suppositories or weekly intramuscular injections of 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate – the generic of Makena, says Dr. Cunningham.

“Exaggerated Makena costs have caused somewhat of a predicament for obstetricians, but at this time evidence supports similar effectiveness for progesterone vaginal suppositories,” he says.

The current cost of Makena is about half of what it was in February, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted KV Pharmaceutical sole production rights and the firm bumped the wholesale price from $8 to nearly $1,500 for each weekly injection. Before FDA approval was granted, injectable progesterone was made inexpensively by compounding pharmacies.

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Media Contact: Robin Russell