Labetalol Use Appears Safe During Pregnancy


SAN FRANCISCO — Results of nonstress tests in 112 pregnant women being treated for chronic hypertension during 2003-2007 did not differ significantly in patients on labetalol, compared with those on methyldopa, results of a retrospective study found.

“Physicians should feel comfortable using labetalol or methyldopa for pregnant patients with hypertension. Those medications have no effect on the baby,” Dr. Ramata Niangan, an ob.gyn. at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in an interview at the meeting.

Nonstress tests were reactive in 84% of 76 patients on labetalol and in 81% of 36 patients on methyldopa, a difference that was not statistically significant, she said.

Traditionally, methyldopa has been used to treat hypertension during pregnancy, but in recent years more physicians have begun using beta-blockers or other medications.

Labetalol is both a selective alpha-blocker and a nonselective beta-blocker that decreases systemic vascular resistance without changing maternal cardiac output.

The study included 112 women treated for hypertension during pregnancy and excluded women with multiple-gestation pregnancies or other antihypertensive treatment.

Among secondary outcomes, there were no significant differences between the two treatment groups in maternal age, gestational age at delivery, birth weight, or the rate of preeclampsia, said Dr. Niang, who did not report any financial disclosures.

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