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Vitamin Supplements May Increase Membrane Rupture

Antioxidant supplementation to prevent preeclampsia or premature rupture of the membranes may increase risk

THURSDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Risk of premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) and preterm PROM (PPROM) unexpectedly increased with vitamin C and E supplementation, according to a report in the October issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Joseph A. Spinnato II, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues report on a planned secondary analysis of a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial examining antioxidant supplementation during pregnancy. The report focuses on the incidence of PROM and PPROM in women receiving either 1000 mg of vitamin C and 400 IU of vitamin E daily or placebo.

Overall, PROM (10.6 percent) and PPROM (4.6 percent) were more common with antioxidant supplementation than with placebo (5.5 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively), the researchers report. Adjusted risk ratios indicated pregnant patients receiving antioxidant supplementation were 1.89 times more likely to develop PROM and 2.68 times more likely to develop PPROM than those taking placebo, the report indicates.

"These findings stand in contrast to the accumulation of reports suggesting the protective importance of antioxidant vitamins in the pathophysiology of PROM," the authors comment. "In light of the lack of effectiveness of this dose combination of vitamins to reduce the incidence of preeclampsia, as noted in consecutively reported randomized trials, and the concerns raised in this investigation regarding the increased risk of PROM with this combination, the empiric clinical use of this combination among patients at risk of preeclampsia or PROM should be abandoned."

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