Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Magnesium Sulphate Halves Risk Of Eclampsia And Can Save Lives Of Pregnant Women

31.05.2002


Giving magnesium sulphate injections to pregnant women with pre-eclampsia halves the risk of eclampsia developing and can save their lives. This is the conclusion of a major international clinical trial funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and published in this week’s The Lancet.



The three-year £2.5 million study, the ‘Magpie’* Trial, was conducted in 33 countries spanning the UK and much of the developing world where eclampsia is the most common cause of death for pregnant women. The trial involved over 10,000 women.

All of the women were suffering from pre-eclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, commonly known as toxaemia) which can lead to eclampsia (convulsions) which threatens both the mother’s and the baby’s lives.


In addition to normal medical care, half the women in the trial were randomly assigned to receive an injection of magnesium sulphate, an anticonvulsant drug. The other half was allocated a placebo treatment.

Women allocated magnesium sulphate had a 58% lower risk of eclampsia than those allocated the placebo. Although the treatment did not affect whether or not the baby died, there was evidence that it can reduce the risk of the mother dying. A quarter of women reported minor side effects but there was no evidence of harmful effects to either the mother or baby.

Dr Lelia Duley, an MRC Senior Clinical Fellow and Obstetric Epidemiologist in the Institute of Health Sciences at the University of Oxford, led the research.

She said: “Eclampsia is a devastating condition that can kill both mother and child. Our trial has shown that giving magnesium sulphate injections halves the risk of developing eclampsia for women who already have pre-eclampsia, and it seems likely it also reduces the risk of maternal death. The treatment could save countless lives across the world if it was introduced routinely for pregnant women with pre-eclampsia. And, importantly, it is a very inexpensive treatment, making it especially suitable for use in low income countries.”

Professor Jim Neilson, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Liverpool, was one of the clinicians who worked on the trial. He said: “Anticonvulsant drugs have been given to some women with pre-eclampsia for several years but this is the first time that we’ve shown clear benefits for magnesium sulphate treatment through a major research study. These exciting results should now change routine clinical practice across the UK and the world.”

Claire Giles, a woman who suffered pre-eclampsia during her first pregnancy and who took part in the trial, said: “I was really pleased to be part of such an important trial. I developed swelling at 32 weeks which grew progressively more severe until I was finally diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and admitted to hospital at 38 weeks. My baby was delivered by caesarean section and thankfully we both made a complete recovery. Pre-eclampsia is a frightening condition and I really hope that the results of the trial will benefit women like me.”

One in ten pregnant women world-wide suffers from pre-eclampsia, often in their first pregnancy. Currently the only definitive treatment is to deliver the baby early. Once the baby is born the mother’s blood pressure usually returns to normal although the baby will often require intensive medical care due to being born prematurely.

Women seeking further information about pre-eclampsia and eclampsia can call the Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC) Helpline on 020 8427 4217 (weekdays 10am - 1pm).

The research was funded mainly by the Medical Research Council with support from the Department for International Development, the UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction and the European Commission, DG Research, INCO Programme.

Press Office | alphagalileo

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>