The Magpie Trial: a randomised trial comparing magnesium sulphate with placebo for pre-eclampsia. Outcome for women at 2 years

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The aim of this study was to assess long-term effects for women following the use of magnesium sulphate for pre-eclampsia.


Assessment at 2–3 years after delivery for women recruited to the Magpie Trial (recruitment in 1998–2001, ISRCTN 86938761), which compared magnesium sulphate with placebo for pre-eclampsia.


Follow up after discharge from hospital at 125 centres in 19 countries across five continents.


A total of 7927 women were randomised at the follow-up centres. Of these women, 2544 were not included for logistic reasons and 601 excluded (109 at a centre where <20% of women were contacted, 466 discharged without a surviving child and 26 opted out). Therefore, 4782 women were selected for follow-up, of whom 3375 (71%) were traced.


Questionnaire assessment was administered largely by post or in a dedicated clinic. Interview assessment of selected women was performed.

Main outcome measures

Death or serious morbidity potentially related to pre-eclampsia at follow up, other morbidity and use of health service resources.


Median time from delivery to follow up was 26 months (interquartile range 19–36). Fifty-eight of 1650 (3.5%) women allocated magnesium sulphate died or had serious morbidity potentially related to pre-eclampsia compared with 72 of 1725 (4.2%) women allocated placebo (relative risk 0.84, 95% CI 0.60–1.18).


The reduction in the risk of eclampsia following prophylaxis with magnesium sulphate was not associated with an excess of death or disability for the women after 2 years.

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