Magnesium sulphate versus diazepam for eclampsia

  • Duley L
  • Henderson-Smart D
  • Walker G
  • et al.
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BACKGROUND Eclampsia, the occurrence of a seizure in association with pre-eclampsia, remains a rare but serious complication of pregnancy. A number of different anticonvulsants are used to control eclamptic fits and to prevent further fits. OBJECTIVES The objective of this review was to assess the effects of magnesium sulphate compared with diazepam when used for the care of women with eclampsia. Magnesium sulphate is compared with phenytoin and with lytic cocktail in other Cochrane reviews. SEARCH STRATEGY We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (30 September 2010) and CENTRAL (2010, Issue 3). SELECTION CRITERIA Randomised trials comparing magnesium sulphate (intravenous or intramuscular administration) with diazepam for women with a clinical diagnosis of eclampsia. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Two authors assessed and extracted data independently. MAIN RESULTS We have included seven trials, involving 1396 women. Three trials (1030 women) were good quality. Magnesium sulphate was associated with a reduction in maternal death (seven trials;1396 women; risk ratio (RR) 0.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.38 to 0.92) and recurrence of seizures (seven trials;1390 women; RR 0.43, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.55) compared to diazepam. There were no clear differences in other measures of maternal morbidity.There was no clear difference in perinatal mortality (four trials; 788 infants; RR 1.04, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.34) or neonatal mortality (four trials; 759 infants; RR 1.18, 95% CI 0.75 to 1.84). In the magnesium sulphate group, fewer liveborn babies had an Apgar score less than seven at one minute (two trials; 597 babies; RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.87) or at five minutes (RR 0.70, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.90), and fewer appeared to need intubation at the place of birth (two trials; 591 infants; RR 0.67, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.00). There was no difference in admission to a special care nursery (four trials; 834 infants; RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.79 to 1.05), but fewer babies in the magnesium sulphate group had a length of stay more than seven days (three trials 631 babies; RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.46 to 0.96). AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS Magnesium sulphate for women with eclampsia reduces the risk ratio of maternal death and of recurrence of seizures, compared with diazepam.




Duley, L., Henderson-Smart, D. J., Walker, G. J., & Chou, D. (2010). Magnesium sulphate versus diazepam for eclampsia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

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