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Labor Drug Assailed; Article Challenges Mag Sulfate Use
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Prescription drugs; Premature labor
Author: Sandra G. Boodman - Washington Post Staff Writer
Date: Oct 10, 2006
Start Page: F.1
Section: HEALTH TAB

[David Grimes] said he and Kavita Nanda wrote the commentary to promulgate the Cochrane findings among the nation's OB-GYNs. "The Cochrane review hasn't received wide visibility, so that's why we wanted to put this in a journal all OB-GYNs get."

Grimes and Nanda estimate that about 120,000 American women receive mag sulfate each year for premature contractions, and they say some evidence suggests it may be associated with 1,900 to 4,800 fetal deaths annually in the United States. The latter figure is derived from a 1998 study in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"There is a current practice [to use the drug] that is the community standard," said Michael Gallagher, a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, or high-risk pregnancy, who practices at Shady Grove Adventist and Holy Cross hospitals. Gallagher said he regards mag sulfate as a viable and safe option in some cases -- and not as an ineffective and potentially dangerous drug.

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