Pre-eclampsia is a significant health issue in pregnancy, complicating between 2-8% of pregnancies. L-arginine is an important mediator of vasodilation with a potential preventative role in pregnancy related hypertensive diseases. We aimed to systematically review randomised trials in the literature assessing the role of L-arginine in prevention and treatment of pre-eclampsia. We searched the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, PUBMED, and the Australian and International Clinical Trials Registry, to identify randomised trials involving pregnant women where L-arginine was administered for pre-eclampsia to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. We identified eight randomised trials, seven of which were included. The methodological quality was fair, with a combined sample size of 884 women. For women at risk of pre-eclampsia, L-arginine was associated with a reduction in pre-eclampsia (RR: 0.34, 95% CI: 0.21-0.55), when compared with placebo and a reduction in risk of preterm birth (RR: 0.48 and 95% CI: 0.28 to 0.81). For women with established hypertensive disease, L-arginine was associated with a reduction in pre-eclampsia (RR: 0.21; 95% CI: 0.05-0.98). L-arginine may have a role in the prevention and/or treatment of pre-eclampsia. Further well-designed and adequately powered trials are warranted, both in women at risk of pre-eclampsia and in women with established disease.
- hypertensive disease