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Summary

A total of 242 women with moderate hypertension in pregnancy completed a controlled trial of methyldopa (Aldomet). The hypotensive effect of methyldopa was similar to its action in non-pregnant individuals and greatly reduced the frequency of severe hypertension occurring antenatally and in labour. As pregnancy advanced, an increasing daily dose of methyldopa was needed and there was a greater use of additional hypotensive therapy. Seventeen (14·5 per cent) women assigned to methyldopa had to be transferred to another drug or had to stop treatment completely because of minor side effects, of which the commonest were lack of energy and dizziness. No serious side effects were encountered. Nine per cent of the untreated women developed severe hypertension which required treatment later in their pregnancies. Six weeks after delivery, nearly all the patients were able to stop treatment