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Melbourne Royal Women’s Hospital to trial Nexium for pre-eclampsia

Australian researchers are set to undertake a trial to determine whether a common reflux drug could help prevent pre-eclampsia.

About 500 expecting mothers from across the country will take part in the study, conducted by the University of Sydney in partnership with Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital.

It will test whether Nexium, a heartburn drug, can be used to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition which can cause dangerously high blood pressure levels and affects one in 20 pregnant women.

Pre-eclampsia can be deadly in some cases if not treated, and can cause growth problems in newborns.

University of Melbourne Professor Shaun Brennecke said the need for effective prevent treatment is “urgent”.

“There is currently no treatment for pre-eclampsia and the only way to stop the condition is to deliver the baby,” Prof. Brennecke explained.

“If a woman develops preterm pre-eclampsia, it means a baby will need to be delivered early and can result in long-term disability in the child.”

Early trials have shown Nexium to be effective in blocking two proteins released from the placenta in abnormal amounts, and associated with the development of pre-eclampsia.

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