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Magnesium sulfate is approved to prevent seizures in preeclampsia, a condition in which the pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and for control of seizures in eclampsia. Both preeclampsia and eclampsia are life-threatening complications that can occur during pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to eclampsia, seizures, stroke, multiple organ failure, and death of the woman and/or baby.
Editor’s Note: Even though this does not impact the use of magnesium sulfate for preeclampsia, we thought it important to share news about one of the only drug interventions known for clinical management of preeclampsia.
The FDA is now advising health care professionals against using magnesium sulfate injection for more than 5-7 days to stop pre-term labor in pregnant women. Administration of magnesium sulfate injection to pregnant women longer than 5-7 days may lead to low calcium levels and bone problems in the developing baby or fetus, including thin bones (osteopenia), and fractures. The shortest duration of treatment that can result in harm to the baby is not known.
The FDA’s full article provides more information that will be added to the drug label for Magnesium Sulfate Injection, USP 50%. Pregnant women should discuss with their health care professional the possibility of going into labor before term and the risks and benefits of any treatments that may be used.