Labetalol Use Up for Patients With Preeclampsia and Asthma

Use of labetalol vs other antihypertensives linked to increased risk of status asthmaticus.
Use of labetalol vs other antihypertensives linked to increased risk of status asthmaticus.

HealthDay News — Higher rates of β-blocker use are seen among women with preeclampsia and asthma, according to a study published in the July issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Whitney A. Booker, MD, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined whether the diagnosis of asthma correlated with the use of uterotonic and antihypertensive medications for women hospitalized for delivery complicated by postpartum hemorrhage or preeclampsia. 

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Overall, 4.2% of the 5,691,178 women had preeclampsia and 2.5% had postpartum hemorrhage. The researchers found that patients with asthma used carboprost less frequently than patients with no asthma (11.4 vs 18.0%) compared with intravenous labetalol, which was used more often among patients with a diagnosis of asthma than those without (18.5 vs 16.7%). The presence of asthma correlated with a 37% decrease and an 11% increase in the likelihood of carboprost and labetalol use, respectively, in unadjusted analysis. In adjusted analysis, the presence of asthma correlated with a 32% decrease in the likelihood of carboprost use and a 7% reduction in labetalol use (adjusted risk ratios, 0.68 and 0.93, respectively). Compared with other antihypertensive medications, the use of labetalol correlated with significantly increased risk for status asthmaticus (6.5 vs 1.7/1000 delivery hospitalizations).

"There may be an opportunity to reduce use of β-blockers and carboprost among patients with asthma," the authors write. "Given their association with status asthmaticus, these drugs should be used cautiously in women with asthma."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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