Magnesium sulphate and other anticonvulsants for women with pre-eclampsiaAbstract:
Background: Eclampsia, the occurrence of a seizure (fit) in association with pre-eclampsia, is rare but potentially life-threatening. Magnesium sulphate is the drug of choice for treating eclampsia. This review assesses its use for preventing eclampsia.
Objectives: To assess the effects of magnesium sulphate, and other anticonvulsants, for prevention of eclampsia.
Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group’s Trials Register (4 June 2010), and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials Register (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3).
Selection criteria: Randomised trials comparing anticonvulsants with placebo or no anticonvulsant, or comparisons of different drugs, for pre-eclampsia.
Data collection and analysis: Two authors assessed trial quality and extracted data independently.
Main results: We included 15 trials. Six (11,444 women) compared magnesium sulphate with placebo or no anticonvulsant: magnesium sulphate more than a halved the risk of eclampsia (risk ratio (RR) 0.41, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.29 to 0.58; number needed to treat for an additional beneficial outcome (NNTB) 100, 95% CI 50 to 100), with a non-significant reduction in maternal death (RR 0.54, 95% CI 0.26 to 1.10) but no clear difference in serious maternal morbidity (RR 1.08, 95% CI 0.89 to 1.32). It reduced the risk of placental abruption (RR 0.64, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.83; NNTB 100, 95% CI 50 to 1000), and increased caesarean section (RR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.10). There was no clear difference in stillbirth or neonatal death (RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.15). Side effects, primarily flushing, were more common with magnesium sulphate (24% versus 5%; RR 5.26, 95% CI 4.59 to 6.03; number need to treat for an additional harmful outcome (NNTH) 6, 95% CI 5 to 6).Follow-up was reported by one trial comparing magnesium sulphate with placebo: for 3375 women there was no clear difference in death (RR 1.79, 95% CI 0.71 to 4.53) or morbidity potentially related to pre-eclampsia (RR 0.84, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.26) (median follow-up 26 months); for 3283 children exposed in utero there was no clear difference in death (RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.57 to 1.84) or neurosensory disability (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.38 to 1.58) at age 18 months.Magnesium sulphate reduced eclampsia compared to phenytoin (three trials, 2291 women; RR 0.08, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.60) and nimodipine (one trial, 1650 women; RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.77).
Authors’ conclusions: Magnesium sulphate more than halves the risk of eclampsia, and probably reduces maternal death. There is no clear effect on outcome after discharge from hospital. A quarter of women report side effects with magnesium sulphate.
PMID 21069663 / Lelia Duley, A Metin Gülmezoglu, David J Henderson-Smart, Doris Chou