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J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2006 May;19(5):277-81.

Effect of L-arginine on blood pressure in pregnancy-induced hypertension: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.

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Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Mother-Infant Department, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.



To evaluate the antihypertensive efficacy of L-arginine (L-Arg) repeated infusions in women affected by gestational hypertension.


The women were referred to obstetric units in order to assess their clinical conditions and to exclude the presence of severe fetal and/or maternal complications. Inclusion criteria were: maternal age range 16-45 years, diagnosis of gestational hypertension without proteinuria (patients normotensive until the 20th week), and gestational age ranging between 24 and 36 weeks. Each woman was allocated to receive either L-arginine (20 g/500 mL) or placebo treatment through an i.v. line. The infusion was carried out in the morning from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and it was repeated for the next four consecutive days. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure values as well as heart rate were recorded with the patient in an upright, seated position at 08:00, 12:00, 16:00 and 20:00 h.


Maternal clinical features such as age, height, weight, and gestational age at inclusion were similar between groups. Both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were reduced by treatment, the effect of L-arginine being significantly higher than that of the placebo (systolic values F = 8.59, p < 0.005; diastolic values F = 3.36; p < 0.001). Twenty women assigned to the L-Arg group (32.2%) and 23 to the placebo group (37.7%) were concomitantly treated with antihypertensives before starting the study. Analyzing the subgroup of patients not receiving antihypertensive drugs we found that L-arginine was superior to placebo in lowering systolic (F = 5.42, p < 0.005) and diastolic (F = 2.20, p < 0.005) blood pressure values.


In conclusion, these data support the use of L-Arg as an antihypertensive agent for gestational hypertension especially in view of the other beneficial effects nitric oxide donors display in pregnancy. Further, L-Arg seems well tolerated since in this sample none of the patients reported adverse effects requiring study interruption.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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