[Skip to Navigation]
December 1988

Does Magnesium Sulfate Treat Eclamptic Seizures?Yes

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Etherington Hall, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Arch Neurol. 1988;45(12):1360-1361. doi:10.1001/archneur.1988.00520360078016

Contradictory statements are found in the medical literature about magnesium sulfate as treatment for eclampsia. They vary from "the drug of choice in North America for impending convulsions or frank eclampsia... the standard by which all others must be assessed"1 through "the use of intravenous magnesium is time honored but has been discouraged in recent years"2 to "... magnesium sulfate does not treat eclamptic convulsions."3 As might be expected, the same literature does not report controlled clinical trials evaluating magnesium sulfate treatment. However, empirical evidence4-7 justifies a positive reaction to the question "Does magnesium sulfate treat eclamptic convulsions?" Reports from large obstetric units describing patient management over many years favor the use of magnesium sulfate. Some believe the therapeutic response to magnesium sulfate, hydralazine, and early delivery is "so self-evident as to provoke little controversy."6

Eclampsia is a disorder unique to pregnancy and puerperium. It is

Add or change institution