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Review Article

The effect of antihypertensive drugs on the fetus

Abstract

A critical review of the literature on the effects of antihypertensive drugs on the fetus in pregnant women is presented. The survey covers the alpha-adrenergic receptor agonists, beta-blockers including topical eye medications, alpha-beta blockers, calcium antagonists, diuretics, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. The lack of data on angiotensin II receptor blockers is noted although effects are considered to be similar to those reported with ACE inhibitors and therefore to be avoided. Analysis of the literature underscores that some antihypertensive drugs can be used safely at certain stages of pregnancy, while others are suspect and to be avoided at all costs. The lack of placebo-controlled studies on the treatment of severe hypertension in pregnancy due to ethical considerations is discussed against the background of the pressing need to treat these women despite the possible deleterious effects of antihypertensive drugs

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Correspondence to T Rosenthal.

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Rosenthal, T., Oparil, S. The effect of antihypertensive drugs on the fetus. J Hum Hypertens 16, 293–298 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jhh.1001400

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jhh.1001400

Keywords

  • hypertension in pregnancy
  • antihypertensive drugs and fetus
  • teratology and antihypertensive drugs

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