Use of Magnesium Sulfate for Preterm Labor Can Have Potentially Lethal Consequences

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Magnesium Sulfate has been used in pregnant women to help prevent preterm labor and delivery. It is also used in low doses in preeclampsia to prevent seizures. However, magnesium sulfate can be a very dangerous drug, even fatal, if given in too high of a dosage. In my experience, I have read stories about women receiving toxic levels of magnesium sulfate. As a result, the women went into respiratory arrest and died. This incident occurred because of a medication error made by the nurse. It should be understood by nurses who give patients magnesium sulfate to due so with caution. They should be educated on signs and symptoms of magnesium toxicity, which include, absence of reflexes, difficulty arousing the patient, respiratory depression, confusion, and cardiac depression. Lethal, as well as legal responsibility can be avoided with increased awareness of the potentially dangerous consequences of magnesium toxicity and overdose.

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