Type of Drug: Anti-ulcer drug; prostaglandin.
How The Drug Works
Misoprostol reduces the amount of acid secreted by the stomach. It also helps to protect the stomach lining.
To prevent formation of stomach ulcers in patients who are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including aspirin. For high-risk individuals taking NSAIDs who are at greater risk for developing ulcers or who are at greater risk for complications from ulcers (eg, elderly, patients with a history of ulcers, patients with other debilitating diseases).
Other Uses : Occasionally doctors may prescribe misoprostol to treat duodenal ulcers or to reduce the risk of organ rejection in kidney transplants.
Diarrhea: Usually develops early in the course of therapy and resolves after approximately 8 days. Discontinuation may be required.
Pregnancy: Do not use during pregnancy. The risk of use in a pregnant woman clearly outweighs any possible benefit. Women of childbearing potential should not receive the drug unless the patient requires NSAIDs and is at high risk of complications from stomach ulcers associated with the use of NSAIDs, or is at high risk of developing stomach ulceration. Such patients may use misoprostol if the following criteria are met:
* The patient is capable of complying with effective contraceptive measures.
* The patient has received both oral and written warnings of the hazards of misoprostol, the risk of possible contraception failure, and the danger to other women of childbearing potential should the drug be taken by mistake.
* The patient has a negative serum pregnancy test within 2 weeks prior to beginning therapy.
* The patient will begin therapy only on the second or third day of the next normal menstrual period.
Breastfeeding: It is unlikely that misoprostol is excreted in breast milk. It is not known if active metabolites are excreted in breast milk. Do not use while breastfeeding; the drug may cause significant diarrhea in nursing infants.
Children: Safety and effectiveness in children under 18 years of age have not been established.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or if you are planning to take any over-the-counter or prescription medications or dietary supplements with misoprostol. Doses of one or both drugs may need to be modified or a different drug may need to be prescribed. Antacids interact with misoprostol.
Every drug is capable of producing side effects. Many misoprostol users experience no, or minor, side effects. The frequency and severity of side effects depend on many factors including dose, duration of therapy and individual susceptibility. Possible side effects include:
Digestive Tract: Diarrhea; nausea; vomiting; constipation; abdominal pain; gas; indigestion.
Other: Menstrual irregularities; painful menstruation; vaginal bleeding or spotting; headache.
Guidelines for Use
* Take misoprostol for the duration of NSAID therapy.
* Contraceptive measures (birth control) are recommended during therapy.
* If a dose is missed, take it as soon as possible. If several hours have passed or if it is nearing time for the next dose, do not double the dose in order to “catch up” (unless advised to do so by your doctor). If more than one dose is missed, or it is necessary to establish a new dosage schedule, contact your doctor or pharmacist. Use exactly as prescribed.
* Diarrhea may occur early in the course of therapy. It may be minimized by taking after meals and at bedtime.
* Discontinue the drug and notify your doctor immediately if pregnancy is suspected. Misoprostol produces contractions of the uterus that may cause a miscarriage
* Avoid magnesium-containing antacids.
* Never give your misoprostol tablets to anyone else.