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RCT of Antioxidant Therapy to Prevent Preeclampsia in Brazil

15:57 EDT 24th April 2014 | BioPortfolio


The perinatal morbidity and mortality rates for Brazil are five to ten-fold higher than those reported for upper income countries. This study tests the likelihood that the joint administration of antioxidants vitamin C (1000 mg) and vitamin E (400 IU) will reduce the incidence of preeclampsia among chronically hypertensive pregnant patients and patients with a past history of preeclampsia/eclampsia.


The maternal, perinatal and neonatal morbidity and mortality rates for Brazil are five to ten-fold higher than those reported for upper income countries. In Sao Paulo, 22 percent of maternal deaths are attributable to hypertensive complications of pregnancy, which ranks as the number one cause of maternal death. Recent advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of preeclampsia suggest the possibility of antioxidant therapy for the prevention of preeclampsia. The primary hypothesis is that the joint administration of the antioxidants vitamin C (1000 mg) and vitamin E (400 IU) will reduce the incidence of preeclampsia among chronically hypertensive pregnant patients and patients with a past history of preeclampsia/eclampsia. Secondary outcomes include severity of preeclampsia; incidence of gestational hypertension; incidence of premature rupture of the membranes; incidence of preterm birth; incidence of low birth weight infants; biomarker level correlation with preeclampsia.

Study sites are high-risk obstetrical clinics in the Brazilian cities of Recife, Botucatu, Campinas, and Porto Alegre. The sample size was based on an estimated risk of preeclampsia/eclampsia of 21-25% in the control group. The study hypothesizes a 40% absolute reduction of risk of preeclampsia; early treatment withdrawal of 3%; withdrawal of consent or loss to follow-up of 10%; calculated at a 0.05 significance level with 80% power. Seven hundred thirty-four obstetric patients with chronic hypertension or preeclampsia in the prior pregnancy presenting for care between 12 weeks and 19 weeks', 6 days gestation will be randomized to a double-blinded placebo controlled trial to receive a daily dose of either vitamin E (400 International Units) and vitamin C (1000 mg) or placebo from the time of enrollment to delivery. The use of MEMS caps enables researchers to accurately track compliance.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Placebo Control, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double-Blind, Primary Purpose: Prevention




Vitamin C and E


Federal University of Pernambuco




Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Results (where available)

View Results


Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A lipid cofactor that is required for normal blood clotting. Several forms of vitamin K have been identified: VITAMIN K 1 (phytomenadione) derived from plants, VITAMIN K 2 (menaquinone) from bacteria, and synthetic naphthoquinone provitamins, VITAMIN K 3 (menadione). Vitamin K 3 provitamins, after being alkylated in vivo, exhibit the antifibrinolytic activity of vitamin K. Green leafy vegetables, liver, cheese, butter, and egg yolk are good sources of vitamin K.

A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of VITAMIN D in the diet, insufficient production of vitamin D in the skin, inadequate absorption of vitamin D from the diet, or abnormal conversion of vitamin D to its bioactive metabolites. It is manifested clinically as RICKETS in children and OSTEOMALACIA in adults. (From Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p1406)

A family of phylloquinones that contains a ring of 2-methyl-1,4-naphthoquinone and an isoprenoid side chain. Members of this group of vitamin K 1 have only one double bond on the proximal isoprene unit. Rich sources of vitamin K 1 include green plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. Vitamin K1 has antihemorrhagic and prothrombogenic activity.

A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of VITAMIN E in the diet, characterized by posterior column and spinocerebellar tract abnormalities, areflexia, ophthalmoplegia, and disturbances of gait, proprioception, and vibration. In premature infants vitamin E deficiency is associated with hemolytic anemia, thrombocytosis, edema, intraventricular hemorrhage, and increasing risk of retrolental fibroplasia and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. An apparent inborn error of vitamin E metabolism, named familial isolated vitamin E deficiency, has recently been identified. (Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p1181)

A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of VITAMIN B 12 in the diet, characterized by megaloblastic anemia. Since vitamin B 12 is not present in plants, humans have obtained their supply from animal products, from multivitamin supplements in the form of pills, and as additives to food preparations. A wide variety of neuropsychiatric abnormalities is also seen in vitamin B 12 deficiency and appears to be due to an undefined defect involving myelin synthesis. (From Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th ed, p848)

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Correction for Chu et al., Purified vitamin K epoxide reductase alone is sufficient for conversion of vitamin K epoxide to vitamin K and vitamin K to vitamin KH2.

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