Locked FAQ Members Login

Antihypertensive medications

Do you have a burning question you just have to ask our Medical Board Experts about hypertensive pregnancies? Please email your question to expert@preeclampsia.org Keep in mind, however, that we won't be able to answer every question and our docs can't offer medical advice and won't be able to comment on specific medical cases.

Antihypertensive medications

Postby expert on call » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:22 pm

"I was reading in some other posts about some patients not going on bp meds because their docs were worried about it masking the other PE symptoms, is that true? do you know which symptoms it can mask?"

Under what circumstances are antihypertensive medications appropriate? Which anti-hypertensive meds are best?

expert on call
Registered User
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 09:30 am

Re : Antihypertensive medications

Postby expert on call » Mon Sep 08, 2003 10:23 pm

This is a very controversial topic. The main sign that will be "masked" will be hypertension. It may also reduce the chance of proteinuria. These are good things to "mask".

Blood pressure medications will make a patient seem more normal. Once on meds the doctor must follow her as at greater risk than her BP measurements are indicating. This is particularly true for monitoring the fetal condition. An experienced physician is needed.

We treat our patients routinely with medications. We certainly do not agree with this position.

Expert on Call

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
expert on call
Registered User
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 09:30 am

Re : Antihypertensive medications

Postby expert on call » Tue Sep 09, 2003 08:30 am

In general, antihypertensive medications are appropriate when the maternal blood pressure reaches a level that the physicians determine increases the woman's risk for an adverse cardiovascular or cerebral outcome. There are no clinical trial data to guide us regarding what level of blood pressure is safe for the mother, and what level of blood pressure requires treatment in a woman with preeclampsia. Decisions regarding when to institute antihypertensive therapy are best made on an individual basis. Although most physicians recommend treating everyone once the blood pressure reaches 160/110, many physicians recommend treating lower levels of blood pressures in some women. Some of the concerns that go into a decision regarding when to lower blood pressure are the woman's other preexisting medical conditions, her baseline blood pressure before she got preeclampsia, whether or not she is having symptoms that might be attributable to hypertension, when delivery is scheduled. The overall message is that blood pressure should be treated for maternal safety, when appropriate.


Expert on Call

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
expert on call
Registered User
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 09:30 am

Re : Antihypertensive medications

Postby expert on call » Tue Sep 09, 2003 04:43 pm

I personally don't feel that it masks any preeclampsia symptoms. There are other considerations to starting blood pressure medications such as the effects on fetal growth, but these can be minimized with close monitoring of the patient's hemodynamic factors.

Expert on Call

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
expert on call
Registered User
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 09:30 am

Re : Antihypertensive medications

Postby expert on call » Tue Sep 09, 2003 06:08 pm

Everyone agrees that high blood pressure during pregnancy requires treatment regardless of underlying cause, the confusion is at what level should treatment be started. The Working group report was a bit confusing in stating treatment must be started when levels reach 100-110 mm Hg diastolic and 160-70 mm Hg systolic. Many, however, start treatment at lower levels, especially our Australian and European colleagues, and Obstetricians who consult with and are influenced by their medical colleagues.

The approach to when to treat is based on the following data. Systematic analyses have demonstrated no effect of treating mild or moderate hypertension on pregnancy outcome (or the development of superimposed preeclampsia in women with essential hypertension). The immediate safety and long term safety of these drugs on the fetus are yet to be established with certainty (For example even though many of these drugs have no known teratagenic effects we do not know if they will have effects on the development of the fetal autonomic nervous system etc., an area known as non-genetic influences on fetal development. Said simply, if you do not have to give a drug during pregnancy; do not!) Thus the only current reason to treat is when levels are sufficiently high to threaten the mother (stroke, bleeding, heart failure, etc.) Again some texts permit levels to 170/110 mm Hg, but many of us including this responder will treat once diastolic levels increase to or above 100 mm Hg in an essential hypertensive, or to or above 105 mm Hg in a preeclamptic. In addition I do not let systolic levels exceed 160 mm Hg. Finally, the magnitude of the rise as well as whether the patient has signs or symptoms is important, as well as whether patients have indication for treatment at lower levels such as underlying cardiovascular or renal compromise..

Having said the above, let me note that information on which these recommendations were made are poor and this is an area in need of substantially more research, primarily well designed trials to determine if mild to moderate hypertensive levels should be treated in pregnant women.

Systematic analyses of the literature have tried to determine the "best" drugs, but critically read only suggest we still need to perform these trials correctly. The drugs with the longest history of use in pregnancy without a plethora of bad reports seems to be what guides most of us, and the drugs most commonly used today are labetalol and alpha-methyl dopa for chronic hypertension and hydralazine and labetalol when the pressure rises suddenly and dangerous requiring hospitalizations and the giving of drugs by vein or injection. While many worry about the use of betablockers on fetal growth, one of our medical advisory group believes its affect on cardiac output may prevent preeclampsia. Future research, properly performed will tell. I still recommend alpha-methyl dopa for two reasons: it is the drug with the longest use and thus the longest record of relative safety, and while not confirmed may decrease mid trimester loss in chronic hypertension. More important, although the study quoted is relatively small methyl-dopa is the only antihypertensive drug that boasts a seven year follow up of the newborn, a study that stands as beacon of the type of data we should seek in every drug given to a pregnant woman.

Finally, the simplest answer to the question: We treat when levels indicate and do not withhold treatment for fear of “masking symptoms. There is not a strong consensus on the best drug, most currently favoring methyl dopa and labetalol for chronic hypertension and hydralazine and labetalol when blood pressure rises suddenly and dangerously and parenteral (intravenous or intramuscular injections are needed).



Expert on Call

Information provided on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disorder, or prescribing any medication. The Preeclampsia Foundation presents all data as is, without any warranty of any kind, express or implied, and is not liable for its accuracy, for mistakes or omissions of any kind, nor for any loss or damage caused by a user's reliance on information obtained on the site. Professional opinions on this condition vary greatly. The Preeclampsia Foundation endorses no one course of treatment or "cure". Responses generated by our Experts to specific questions are based on information anonymously submitted to this site via email, are not based on a complete review of any patient’s medical records and should not be construed as the only reasonable expert response to the info submitted and/or the scenario described.
expert on call
Registered User
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Feb 15, 2003 09:30 am


Return to Ask the Experts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests