Magnesium sulfate is used to prevent or stop seizures (eclampsia) during pregnancy. It is usually given through a vein (intravenously, or IV) or injected into a muscle (intramuscularly, or IM). Treatment to prevent seizures is usually continued for 24 hours after delivery.
Getting magnesium sulfate through a vein (IV) is less painful than through IM injection because the IM injections must be given frequently. The IM delivery route may be used when:
It is not known exactly how magnesium prevents or stops seizures during pregnancy. But it may work by blocking or reducing activity in certain areas of the brain.
Magnesium sulfate is used to:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
In rare cases, symptoms of magnesium toxicity (nausea, muscle weakness, loss of reflexes) occur during magnesium sulfate treatment. The medicine calcium gluconate is given to treat the problem.
Mothers on magnesium sulfate are closely monitored. Blood pressure and pulse are checked about every 30 minutes for at least the first few hours of treatment.
Last Revised: November 5, 2012
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