Objectives: Although magnesium is now the drug of choice for the prevention of eclamptic seizures only few studies have evaluated whether magnesium may reduce blood pressure in pregnancies complicated with hypertension. Methods: A total of 33 patients with pregnancy-induced hypertension were randomized to either magnesium or methyldopa treatment. Of these 16 received magnesium and 17 methyldopa. The treatment comprised a 48-hour magnesium infusion followed by oral magnesium tablets until 3 days after delivery or 250 mg methyldopa 4 times a day in a similar period. Results: Patients treated with magnesium had 1 day after inclusion a statistically significantly lower systolic blood pressure compared to the level in the methyldopa group (138.1 ± 11 vs. 147.6 ± 11 mm Hg; p < 0.05), but no difference was observed in diastolic blood pressure (92.0 ± 6.6 vs. 96.0 ± 10.1 mm Hg; NS). From the 5th day of inclusion and until delivery both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were significantly lower in the magnesium group (p < 0.05). Including all blood pressure measurements in a single analysis showed that both systolic (138 ± 13 vs. 148 ± 15 mm Hg; p < 0.0001) and diastolic (92 ± 10 vs. 94 ± 10 mm Hg; p < 0.05) blood pressure were lower in the magnesium group compared to the methyldopa group. There was no difference between the two groups regarding gestational age at delivery, birth weight, Apgar scores and pH in umbilical cord blood. Conclusion: This preliminary study demonstrates that magnesium treatment lowers blood pressure in pregnancies complicated with hypertension. The effect is without any adverse effect on maternal and neonatal well-being.

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