Use of methotrexate in the ectopic pregnancy and pregnancy of unknown location

Authors: J. Racková;  D. Driák ;  H. Neumannová;  K. Hurt;  B. Sehnal;  M. Halaška
Authors‘ workplace: Gynekologicko-porodnická klinika 1. LF UK, Nemocnice Na Bulovce, Praha, přednosta prof. MUDr. M. Halaška, DrSc.
Published in: Ceska Gynekol 2016; 81(2): 140-146


There are only a few gynaecological departments in the Czech Republic that use medical treatment of the ectopic pregnancy (EP) or persistent pregnancy of unknown location (PUL). We have started using this method in 2008 at our clinic. The aim of this study was to assess the success rate of conservative medical treatment with methotrexate (MTX) in the dose of 1 mg/kg intramuscularly in patients with ectopic pregnancy or persistent pregnancy of unknown location and to compare the results of clinical history, clinical finding and laboratory results in a group of successful and a group of unsuccessful treatment.

Type of study:
Retrospective analysis.

Charles University in Prague, 1st Medical Faculty and Hospital Bulovka, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Prague.

Patients diagnosed with EP or persistent PUL diagnosed at the outpatient of our clinic in 01/2008 - 08/2014 who were hemodynamically stable and fulfilled the indication for medical treatment were enrolled in the study. Treatment success was decrease of free subunit of β-hCG (β-hCG) < 5 IU/L independent of the number of methotrexate doses administered.

Two hundred and eleven patients were diagnosed with EP or PUL, sixty-three were eligible for our study and fulfilled the criteria for methotrexate treatment, fifty six women were finally analysed. From this number forty eight (86%) had clinically and laboratory diagnosed EP and eight (14%) were diagnosed with persistent PUL. Forty one patients (73%) had a successfull treatment (Group I) with the β-hCG level decrease <5 IU/L in a mean time of 27 days. When comparing the data of successful and unsuccessful treatment (Group II) we found a difference in the non-significant initial β-hCG level. In Group I there was a median β-hCG 538 IU/L (100–3852 IU/l), whereas in the unsuccessful Group II it was 1100 IU/L (300–3240 IU/l). Group I included more nuliparous women and more women with clinical histories of EP. Group II included more heavy smokers. The mean hematosalpinx diameter for group II, measured by transvaginal ultrasound, was larger. There were also more patients with endometriosis or deep infiltrating endometriosis in Group II, subsequently verified during laparoscopy, compared to Group I. There was no tubal rupture in these patients.

The results of our study are comparable with foreign literature publications. We consider the pharmacological treatment of ectopic preganancy or persistent pregnancy of unknown location as effective and relatively safe for patients, with similar impact on a woman's fertility as laparoscopic salpingectomy.

ectopic pregnancy, pregnancy of unknown location, pharmacological treatment, methotrexate


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Paediatric gynaecology Gynaecology and obstetrics Reproduction medicine
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