FRIDAY, Sept. 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Supplementation with folic acid beyond the first trimester does not prevent preeclampsia among high-risk women, according to a study published online Sept. 12 in The BMJ.

Shi Wu Wen, Ph.D., from the Ottawa Research Institute in Canada, and colleagues conducted a randomized phase III trial in 70 obstetrical centers in five countries involving pregnant women with at least one high risk factor for preeclampsia. Participants were randomized to receive daily high-dose folic acid (four 1 mg oral tablets; 1,144 participants) or placebo (1,157 participants) from eight weeks of gestation to the end of week 16 of gestation until delivery.

The researchers found that preeclampsia occurred in 14.8 and 13.5 percent of women in the folic acid and placebo groups, respectively (relative risk, 1.10; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.34; P = 0.37). The groups did not differ in terms of adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes.

“These findings are another disappointment in the long search for a more effective measure to prevent preeclampsia,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “Other treatments, such as antioxidant supplements, have been equally biologically plausible but failed to translate into clinical benefits.”

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