Acute Paraparesis Due to Terbutaline Sulfate

Allan Herskowitz, MD, Brad Herskowitz, MD


South Med J. 2002;95(2) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

A woman who was 30 weeks pregnant was given terbutaline sulfate to prevent premature labor contractions. Within several days, she had an acute paraparesis with myalgias and was unable to walk. Full neurologic investigation failed to show any obvious cause. Terbutaline therapy was discontinued, and in 48 hours she became asymptomatic. Terbutaline sulfate (Brethine) is a ß-adrenergic agonist that works on smooth muscle. Various theories about its effect on skeletal muscle have been published. The importance of this case report is to make physicians aware of the rare muscular side effects of terbutaline, and careful observation may obviate extensive and invasive testing.

Terbutaline sulfate, used to prevent premature labor contractions, can on rare occasions produce acute muscular weakness. We report a case of acute paraparesis in a woman treated with terbutaline sulfate at 30 weeks' gestation


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.