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Magnesium Sulfate

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.

Magnesium Sulfate

Postby zoe526 » Sat Sep 01, 2007 04:53 pm

by zoe526 (5 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 04:53 pm

I had severe preeclampsia 2 years ago with my first daughter. I was given "MAG" and had a severe reaction. Has anyone else had a problem with this stuff. My liver was inflamed and I was in pain for 3 hours. The delivery dr. told my husband it looked like I had been drinking for 30 years. Further more if you were were you told of any complications to the baby??? I wasn't and was shocked to find out some while doing a web search.
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby mommyboo » Sat Sep 01, 2007 05:30 pm

by mommyboo (162 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 05:30 pm

Are they sure it was from the mag? My liver was like that when I developed HELLP syndrome.
Mag makes you feel awful and they consider it normal side effects. I couldn't stay awake, began throwing up, had hot and cold flashes and a headache. They also said it wouldn't do anything to the baby. It did nothing long term but she did have some side effects. She had the same side effects I did and had to have her mag levels checked numerous times.
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby kara » Sat Sep 01, 2007 06:03 pm

by kara (6614 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 06:03 pm

I'd be wondering about the MAG causing you liver problems too. Mag is an awful, but life saving medication. I was so hot and coudn't cool down, felt miserable, never threw up, but lots of women are extremely nauseous on it, and I felt like I was drunk and hit by a bus. Liver inflamation would seem more along the lines of HELLP syndrome (Hemolysis, liver enzymes, and platlets), a rare and serious variant of PE. One of the things that they look for to diagnose HELLP is liver involvement, and the right upper quadrant (or rib) pain we talk about here comes from an inflamed liver. My rib pain was much worse than the mag. It was one of those, "wish I'd die, but hope & pray I don't" sort of feelings.

Some babies are sluggish, slow to feed, lethargic, as MAG is a smooth muscle relaxer. But I haven't seen anyone who suspects baby has long term problems from it. Obviously any medication not used in moderation can cause problems. I was on it for 4 days. My baby was nearly a micro-preemie at 2.5lbs, so I can't really say what was due to her being so early, and what might have been mag.

I would look into your records about the HELLP theory as opposed to the MAG causing the problems. Magnesium generically speaking is epsom salts in a differnt form, and I'm sure there are people who are allergic...but the liver thing sounds more like HELLP syndrome.

The most important thing is that MAG, no matter how awful it makes you feel, is often something that saves us PE women from stroke, seizure, and death. I'd take it anyday over that.
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby deerhart » Sat Sep 01, 2007 09:10 pm

by deerhart (3282 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 09:10 pm

I had a horrible reaction to mag, which included causing burns on the side of my face as it reacted with the metal in my glasses.

It turns out I am allergic to sulfate, which the IV mag sulfate finished me off and brought out the allergy 10 fold (I get hives from shampoo, detergent, hand soap etc)
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby zoe526 » Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:53 pm

by zoe526 (5 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:53 pm

I am pretty sure that I didn't develop HELLP because no one ever mentioned it even with my postpartum appointments. Everyone said it was severe preeclampsia. My daughter had no side effects but we did ask and no one told us of possible complication with me or the baby. Needless to say if it happens again I will refuse the medication. The nurses and even the dr. on call didn't know this could happen. I don't think I am allergic to sulfate but I plan on a long conversation with my Dr. to see if he does think it was heading toward HELLP. I think maybe that is why I delivered early. Thanks for writing back....what huge comfort!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby kara » Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:03 pm

by kara (6614 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:03 pm

Can I ask what your reactions were to the MAG? That might show if it was an actual mag allergy or something else.

Everyone is entitled to decide about their own medications of course, but for Preeclampsia, especially severe disease, magnesium sulfate is the best drug, that I'm aware of, that can prevent seizures and strokes in pe patients, from which brain damage and death can result. So before making any decisions about refusing life saving medications, you should definitely have a talk with that doc about the possiblity of you having had HELLP syndrome, and maybe have allergy testing done to determine if you are actually allergic to it or not. MAG has saved many a life here....even if it has nasty side effects. I'm always surprised at how often docs don't mention the side effects to the patients getting big doses of it. They are not mild symptoms, that's for sure. Some hospitals treat with MAG for all PE cases, mild or severe.

If you had PE or PIH panel blood work done in the hospital, they should be able to look at your results and give you an opinion on whether you had HELLP. Even of you have an "abnormal" number in any of the three categories; Hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes or low platelets, it could be considered HELLP. It doesn't have to be an off number in all three categories, just one. Some OB's don't have much experience with PE or HELLP, so if you're not confident in your doctors answers, you might get a second opinion from a perinatologist or MFM...they see HELLP more often.
I'll be interested to see what you find out!
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby mama2twins » Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:52 pm

by mama2twins (790 Posts), Sat Sep 01, 2007 11:52 pm

I have not read anything about mag to suggest that it is risky for the baby. There have actually been several studies to look at if mag may help prevent complications like cerebral palsy when it has been administered. In VLBW preemies, it was found that there was a lower prevalance of cerebral palsy and mental retardation in subjects that received mag vs those that did not. So for me, although I hated the feeling that mag gave me, I think it helped both me and my girls.
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby caryn » Sun Sep 02, 2007 03:23 am

by caryn (10111 Posts), Sun Sep 02, 2007 03:23 am

A significant subfraction -- something like 30% -- of severe preeclampsia patients develop what they call "superimposed" HELLP, which is to say that it's preeclampsia that's gone on for too long for the mother's body to tolerate, often because they're trying to get the steroid shots in and have stabilized you with mag and IV bp meds and oxygen, and delayed delivery.

Mag sulfate is the only known drug which lowers the mother's risk of stroke and seizure. There are no alternatives yet, so declining it would mean running a significant risk.

IIRC in women with allergies to it, the strategy is usually to deliver early via c-section, before the mother has developed preeclampsia and to avoid the production of sFlt-1 during labor, with the tradeoff of a higher chance of prematurity and attendant complications. And, of course, a guaranteed c-section.

I'd discuss this with your care providers further.
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby zoe526 » Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:07 pm

by zoe526 (5 Posts), Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:07 pm

Wow thanks for all the advice...had I know this 2 years ago......... Well anyway I am hoping to get pregnant again soon...and hoping for a noneventful pregnancy...the more boring the better. That being aaid my doctor and I will have a long chat when I have to start going. I really did not like that I wasn't counciled more of the possible side effects when I was in the hospital..I think it should be discussed in full. I do think something went wrong and they had no idea of what the heck was going on but I really do think that I will just take my chances with the NICU. I was worried but after I finally got to see her I just knew she would be ok. They are angels those nurses and NICU dr's.
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Re : Magnesium Sulfate

Postby season » Mon Sep 03, 2007 04:28 am

by season (1416 Posts), Mon Sep 03, 2007 04:28 am

I think when it comes to needing mag, the doctors aren't real focussed on discussing it with the mom. It is seen as necessary to prevent much more serious problems (seizure or stroke) than any of the possible side effects.


It is best to dicuss any concerns with your doctor, esp before another pregnancy so that you can be as informed as possible.
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