Published: 2018-06-27

Assessment of safety and efficacy of oral nifedipine and intravenous labetalol in management of increased blood pressure in severe preeclampsia

Sujana Thalamati, Sailaja Bandaru, Divyasree Bhumireddy


Background: Pre-eclampsia (PE) is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by the onset of high blood pressure and often a significant amount of protein in the urine. Pre-eclampsia is one of the leading causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. The objective of the present study was to assess and compare the safety and efficacy of oral nifedipine and intravenous labetalol in the management of severe pre-eclampsia.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was conducted at a tertiary care hospital in Andhra Pradesh, on pregnant women presenting with a systolic blood pressure of 160 mm Hg or more or diastolic blood pressure of 110 mm Hg or more. The pregnant women were randomized to receive Oral nifedipine (10 mg tablet orally up to five doses) and intravenous labetalol injection in escalating doses until the target blood pressure of 150 mm Hg systolic and 100 mm Hg diastolic, or lower, was achieved. The primary endpoint of the study was the time taken by each agent to achieve target blood pressure. Secondary endpoints were number of doses required, adverse maternal and neonatal effects, side effect profile, and perinatal outcome.

Results: The study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital in Andhra Pradesh from July 2016 to October 2017, on 100 pregnant women presenting with preeclampsia. The median time taken to achieve target blood pressure was 44 minutes (range: 20-60 minutes) for Oral Nifedipine and 68 minutes (range: 40-85 minutes) for Intravenous labetalol (P=0.008).  No serious adverse maternal or perinatal side effects were encountered in both the groups.

Conclusions: Both oral nifedipine and intravenous labetalol are effective in the management of acute hypertensive emergencies of pregnancy; however, oral nifedipine effectively decreased the blood pressure rapidly compared to intravenous labetalol.


Blood pressure, Labetalol, Nifedipine, Preeclampsia

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