Misoprostol is the common form of the branded drug Cytotec, which is used to prevent ulcers in humans.
Drugs that can cause gastric damage include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosen), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltarin, Kataflam), indomethacin (indocin) and meloxicam (Mobic).
Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin. It works by protecting the walls of the stomach and reducing the secretion of acid in the stomach.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in 1988. The drug was originally produced by GD Searle & Company, and the common forms of misoprostol are now produced by several drug manufacturers.
Misoprostol and abortion
Misoprostol is sometimes used outside to stop early pregnancy.
The drug is most effective when it is used in combination with methotrexate or mifepristone. Misoprostol can be administered orally, buccally (dissolved between the gums and cheek) or vaginally for this purpose.
The FDA reported that several women died from severe infection after an abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol.
You should immediately call your doctor if you have any signs of infection that may include weakness, pain, muscle pain, nausea and diarrhea. This rare infection can not cause a fever.
Misoprostol is also sometimes used to reduce blood loss after childbirth. However, the FDA issued a warning on the potential dangers of using misoprostol for these purposes. The risks include a torn uterus, the need for hysterectomy and the death of the mother and child.
Pregnancy and misoprostol
Misoprostol can harm an unborn baby, causing birth defects and premature births. The drug can also harm a pregnant woman, causing rupture of the uterus, uterine bleeding, miscarriage or incomplete miscarriage. You must use an effective form of contraception when taking misoprostol and for at least one month after discontinuing use.
Women should not take their first dose of misoprostol until the second or third day of the menstrual cycle to ensure that they are not pregnant.
It is not known whether this drug enters breast milk and whether it can harm a baby breastfeeding. You should talk with your doctor about these risks.
Before taking misoprostol, you should tell your doctor if you have:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Any other problems with the intestines
- Heart disease
You should also notify your doctor if you suspect that you are dehydrated before taking this medicine.
This drug should be taken regularly. Do not stop taking misoprostol without first talking to your doctor.
Call your doctor if you experience severe nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea that lasts for several days while taking misoprostol.
Side effects of misoprostol
You should tell your doctor if any of the following side effects is serious or does not disappear:
- Stomach upset
- Constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting
Serious side effects
You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the side effects listed in the “Warnings” section, or any of the following serious side effects:
- Blood vomiting
- Bloody or black, tarry stools
- Any signs of infection
You should always tell your doctor about any medications that you take, especially:
- Preparations for arthritis
Misoprostol is produced as a tablet, which must be taken through the mouth. Usually it is taken four times a day after meals and before going to bed with a meal.
When taking this medication, you should carefully follow the instructions on the label with the prescription. Do not take more or less medicine than your doctor prescribes.
Overdose with misoprostol
Symptoms of misoprostol overdose include the following:
- Stomach upset or pain
- Labored breathing
- Low blood pressure
If you suspect an overdose, you should immediately contact a toxicology center or an emergency room.
Missed dose of misoprostol
If you miss a dose of death, accept as soon as you remember.
However, if it’s time for the next dose, skip it and continue with your usual dosing schedule. Do not take additional medication to make up for the missed dose.