Magnesium sulfate is used to prevent or stop seizures
(eclampsia) during pregnancy. It is usually given
through a vein (intravenously, or IV) or injected into a muscle
(intramuscularly, or IM). Treatment to prevent seizures is usually continued
for 24 hours after delivery.
Getting magnesium sulfate through a
vein (IV) is less painful than through IM injection because the IM injections must be
given frequently. The IM delivery route may be used when:
It is not known exactly how magnesium prevents or stops seizures during pregnancy. But it may work by blocking or reducing activity in certain areas of the brain.
Magnesium sulfate is used to:
Magnesium sulfate is effective in reducing the risk of seizures in women who have severe preeclampsia.1 It also prevents repeat seizures in women who have eclampsia.1
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
In rare cases, symptoms of
magnesium toxicity (nausea, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes) occur during
magnesium sulfate treatment. The medicine calcium gluconate is given to treat
Mothers on magnesium sulfate are closely monitored. Blood
pressure and pulse are checked about every 30 minutes for at least the first
few hours of treatment.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Duley L (2011). Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, and hypertension; search date February 2010. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
November 5, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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