The aim of this prospective, observational study was to assess transplacental transmission of ketanserin, an antihypertensive drug used in pre-eclampsia, and to determine disposition and effects in the neonate after maternal ketanserin use. In 22 pregnant women with severe pre-eclampsia, admitted to the antenatal ward in the period 1999-2001, the ratio of drug levels in the umbilical cord to drug levels in maternal blood just before delivery was used as an indicator of placental transmission. Disposition of ketanserin was assessed using neonatal plasma concentrations of ketanserin in eight neonates after birth. A median placental transmission was found in the pre-eclamptic women of 0.95 (0.612-1.24) for ketanserin and for its metabolite, ketanserinol, of 0.60 (0.5-0.77). Pharmacologically relevant concentrations of ketanserin were found in the neonate after delivery. The elimination half-life of ketanserin in the neonate varied between 12.7 and 43.7 hours (median 19.3 hours) and of ketanserinol between 13.8 and 34.4 hours (median 18.7 hours). Despite the high placental transmission and disposition in the neonate, no apparent adverse effects in the neonates could be detected. In conclusion, a high placental transmission of ketanserin and its metabolite ketanserinol occurred after maternal treatment of pre-eclampsia with ketanserin and pharmacologically active concentrations of ketanserin are found in the neonate for a prolonged period after delivery.

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Journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Hanff, L.M, Visser, W, Roofthooft, D.W.E, Bulsink, M.J.E, Vermes, A, Steegers, E.A.P, & Vulto, A.G. (2004). Ketanserin in pre-eclamptic patients: Transplacental transmission and disposition in neonates. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 111(8), 863–866. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2004.00180.x