One hundred pregnant women with hypertension (defined as diastolic blood pressure at or above 95 mm Hg) were allocated at random to treatment with methyldopa or oxprenolol and were compared with nonhypertensive controls matched according to parity and gestation at delivery. The patients were also stratified into those entering the study early (before 32 weeks' gestation) and those entering late (after 32 weeks' gestation). Although there were no differences in diastolic blood pressure between the hypertensive groups before or during treatment, in the early entry group the systolic blood pressure at entry of those allocated to oxprenolol was significantly higher than that of those receiving methyldopa; this difference remained throughout the treatment period. Also in the early entry group further increments of drug treatment were required to control blood pressure of patients receiving oxprenolol than in those receiving methyldopa. The eventual fetal outcome for all patients treated with methyldopa was the same as that for those treated with oxprenolol; birth weight, placental weight, head circumference, and Apgar score were not significantly different and there were no stillbirths in either group.
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