A single, endocervical application of a new commercial preparation of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) gel, 0.5 mg of PGE2 in 2.5 ml (3g), was evaluated for preinduction cervical softening. Safety and efficacy were assessed in a comparison with a 2.0 mg PGE2 vaginal tablet and placebo in normal nulliparous women at term, with low Bishop scores. Treatment was administered in randomized, double blind fashion. Overall success, defined as a progression in Bishop score of at least 3 points within 12 hours, was achieved in 22/40 (55 %) of the gel group, 15/41 (37 %) in the tablet treated women, and 8/40 (20 %) in those receiving placebo. Od interest was the observation that of women with very unfavorable induction features (Bishop score 0-2), the cervical gel treatment resulted in a 6/8 (75 %) success rate compared with 2/13 (15 %) success for the vaginal tablet and 0/7 (0 %) for placebo. In as much as a very low incidence of side effects accompanied this treatment scheme, expanded multi-center testing is recommended.
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