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A review of the role for magnesium sulphate in preterm labour

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During the last decade, the body of medical knowledge concerning the use of pharmacological doses of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) for preterm labour has increased substantially. Several randomised controlled trials (RCTs) have provided compelling evidence that MgSO4 is the drug of choice for maternal seizure prophylaxis in pre-eclampsia, whether preterm or term. In contrast, a recent Cochrane systematic review of the relevant contemporary literature has found no evidence basis to support the use of MgSO4 for tocolysis in preterm labour. Furthermore, associated with high-dosage tocolytic MgSO4, recent data indicate a possible increased risk for neonatal intraventricular haemorrhage (IVH), as well as increased total paediatric mortality. It is possible, on the other hand, that the prophylactic administration of much lower dosages of MgSO4, in selected cases of preterm labour, may have a neuroprotective effect for a small number of infants.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA 2: University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2005


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