Q&A: Magnesium sulfate as the drug of choice for controlling eclamptic seizures

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The drug of choice for controlling eclamptic seizures is

  • A) hydralazine
  • B) phenobarbital
  • C) phenytoin
  • D) diazepam
  • E) magnesium sulfate

 

Answer and Discussion
The answer is E. 

In the United States, magnesium sulfate is considered the drug of choice for controlling eclamptic seizures. Fewer intubations are required in the neonates of eclamptic women who are treated with magnesium sulfate. In addition, fewer newborns require placement in neonatal intensive care units. In the treatment of eclampsia and preeclampsia, magnesium sulfate is often given according to established protocols. If serum magnesium levels exceed 10 mEq/L (5 mmol/L), respiratory depression can occur. This problem may be counteracted by the rapid intravenous infusion of 10% calcium gluconate. Magnesium sulfate should be used with caution in patients with impaired renal or cardiac status. It should not be used in patients with myasthenia gravis.

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