Since 1985, the year of its launch, Misoprostol is being widely used for the treatment of stomach and duodenal ulcers, and for inducing an abortion in place of a surgical procedure. It is a synthetic preparation of prostaglandin E1 and effectively prevents the production of pepsin as well as gastric acid in the stomach, protecting the gastrointestinal lining from ulceration. Misoprostol is also used to induce labor, treat missed miscarriage as well as postpartum hemmorhage.
A synthetically prepared prostaglandin [fatty acid] E1 analogue, Misoprostol causes the mucous membranes lining the gastrointestinal tract to secrete more mucous and blood, increases the thickness of the mucosal layer, stabilizes tissues, and disables the parietal cells from releasing pepsin.
Misoprostol Generic, also called Cytotec, is often given to prevent the formation of gastric ulcers. To relieve people from the harmful side effects of NSAIDs, which can injure the gastrointestinal lining, Misoprostol tablets are administered alongside to prevent the formation of ulcers in the stomach, and the duodenum.
It is officially recognized as one of the few medical drugs used to induce abortion, giving women the option of taking an oral medicine instead of going in for surgery, with the advantages of being more economical, overcoming the risk of application of general anesthesia, reducing the chances of secondary infertility that may happen due to surgery, besides granting them privacy as the medicine can be taken at home.
In a large number of cases it is given between 24-72 hours after Mifepristone is administered. Mostly, a complete abortion takes place after this. A follow-up is done after a fortnight to make sure the abortion has been complete, but in those cases, where the entire fetal and placental tissue has not been expelled, a suction procedure using local anesthesia is carried out to complete the process.
In the absence of a spontaneous abortion, it is widely used to treat missed or incomplete miscarriages.
It is used to treat postpartum hemorrhage also. The primary post-partum hemorrhage occurs as abnormal uterine bleeding following labor or delivery, or blood in the stools/rectum/vagina/gums. Secondary postpartum hemorrhage may show up after 2 weeks of childbirth.
Misoprostol is commonly used for stimulating uterine contractions in late pregnancy, for ripening of the cervix; it has also proved to be more effective in inducing labor than other drugs.
The dosage varies according to the condition for which it is being taken. For prevention of ulceration, 4 doses of the medicine are usually given in a day. For missed/incomplete/induced abortion and for labor, the dose varies according to the gestation period and the route of administration. The medicine must be taken as prescribed by the physician. For a missed dose, you should consult the treating doctor.
Prior to taking this medicine, you have to tell your doctor whether you have any disease pertaining to the heart, liver or kidney; whether you have an inflammatory bowel disease, adrenal insufficiency, or frequently experience dehydration. Also inform your doctor about all the medicines [including over-the-counter and/or prescription]-nutritional supplements-herbal products you take, besides any allergy, especially to prostaglandins.
Women who take this to induce an abortion, should be aware that they can have a natural abortion after taking this medicine, but may have abnormal bleeding for several days. It is recommended that women should avoid conceiving for at least a month after they stop taking this drug, or they should let 1 menstrual cycle lapse before attempting to conceive. When this medicine is administered in the reproductive tract, it is possible that the immune function may be suppressed and bring about a bacterial infection.
Misoprostol interacts with many medicines, including ophthalmic lubricants, vitamin D, other prostaglandins, bronchodilators, SNRIs, pschyostimulants, antihypertensive medicines, opioids or other analgesics, medicines to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, or laxatives. It should not be taken by a woman who is pregnant, planning to conceive, or nursing her baby; while women of child-bearing age must have a negative serum pregnancy result 2 weeks before taking Misoprostol, adopt effective birth control measures, and begin this medicine on the 2nd or 3rd day of their next menstrual period only.
Alcohol should be avoided while taking this medicine, as the two together can make them very drowsy. Women in particular should not take alcohol during pregnancy as it can harm the fetus. This medicine is not recommended for children, but should be taken by them only if their pediatrician prescribes it.
Side effects commonly associated with this medicine are diarrhea, gas, indigestion, headache, nausea, vomiting, or constipation. An allergic reaction can present itself as a rash, hives, itching, tightness in the chest, or swelling of any part of the face [lips, tongue, or throat]. Unusual or serious side effects can show up in the form of severe diarrhea, black stools, persistent or dark vomit.
If you suspect you have overdosed on this medicine, or have any bothersome side effects, contact the local poison control centre or the emergency room at once. The US national poison hotline number is 1-800-222-1222, while the Crisis Pregnancy Helpline number is 1-800-672-2296.
The medicine should be stored at a temperature not exceeding 25oC. Keep it safe from heat, light, or moisture; while protecting your children and pets from having access to it.