The MAGENTA Study - Magnesium sulfate at 30 to 34 weeks’ gestational age: neuroprotective trial - is trying to find out whether the neuroprotective benefits of magnesium sulphate apply at higher gestational ages, as has been seen in lower gestational ages (before 30 weeks’ gestation).

Babies born very preterm have a greater risk of significant neurological impairments such as cerebral palsy, and the risk of complications increases the younger the baby. The MAGENTA study aims to assess whether giving magnesium sulphate compared to placebo to women immediately prior to preterm birth between 30 and 34 weeks’ gestation reduces the risk of death or cerebral palsy in their children at 2 years’ corrected age.

Study design

Recruitment for this study was completed in 2018, with mothers and babies taking part across 24 tertiary maternity hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. Eligible women were randomly allocated to receive either magnesium sulphate or placebo.

Women in the Intervention Group were administered 50 ml of a 100 ml infusion bag containing 8g magnesium sulphate heptahydrate (equivalent to 4g magnesium sulphate heptahydrate). Women in the placebo group were administered 50 ml of a 100 ml infusion bag containing isotonic sodium chloride solution (0.9% sodium chloride). Both treatments were administered through a dedicated intravenous infusion line over 30 minutes.

All surviving children will have a paediatric and psychological assessment done at 2 years’ corrected age.

Key publications

Crowther, CA; Middleton, PF; Wilkinson, D; Ashwood, P; Haslam, R; and the MAGENTA Study Group. Magnesium sulphate at 30 to 34 weeks’ gestational age: neuroprotection trial (MAGENTA) - study protocol BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2013.

Crowther, CA; Brown, J; McKinlay, CJ; Middleton P. Magnesium sulphate for preventing preterm birth in threatened preterm labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. Aug 2014.