Nifedipine in the treatment of severe preeclampsia

Katerina Fenakel*, Gabriel Fenakel, Zvi Appelman, Samuel Lurie, Zvi Katz, Zeev Shoham (Schwartz)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We conducted a randomized clinical trial in which patients with severe preeclampsia between 26–36 weeks of gestation received either nifedipine (10–30 mg sublingually, then 40–120 mg/day orally; N = 24) or hydralazine (6.25–12.5 mg intravenously, then 80–120 mg/day orally; N = 25). Effective control of blood pressure was achieved with nifedipine in 95.8% of subjects and with hydralazine in 68%, a statistically significant difference (P < .05). Maternal side effects were minor in both groups. Acute fetal distress developed in one nifedipine subject and in 11 treated with hydralazine. Mean prolongation of gestation was 15.5 ± 10 days with nifedipine and 9.5 ± 11 days with hydralazine, a difference that did not reach statistical significance (P < .07). Infants born to women treated with nifedipine were delivered at more advanced gestational ages (34.6 ± 2.3 versus 33.6 ± 2.4 weeks; statistically not significant), weighed more (1826 ± 456 versus 1580 ± 499 g; statistically not significant), and tended to have fewer, mainly minor, complications. The average number of days spent in the neonatal intensive care unit was significantly lower in the nifedipine group (15.1 versus 32.7 days; P < .005), leading to an average 31% reduction in total (maternal and neonatal) hospitalization related charges for each nifedipine-treated pregnancy. We conclude that nifedipine is an effective, convenient, and low-cost treatment for patients with severe preeclampsia, and is not associated with undesirable side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1991
Externally publishedYes


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