This medication is used to prevent stomach ulcers while you take NSAIDs (such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen), especially if you are at risk for developing ulcers or have a history of ulcers. Misoprostol helps to decrease your risk of serious ulcer complications such as bleeding. This medication protects your stomach lining by lowering the amount of acid that comes in contact with it.
This medication is also used in combination with another drug (mifepristone) to end a pregnancy (abortion).
This section contains uses of this drug that are not listed in the approved professional labeling for the drug but that may be prescribed by your health care professional. Use this drug for a condition that is listed in this section only if it has been so prescribed by your health care professional.
This drug may also be used in the hospital to assist with childbirth, only at the time of delivery (such as cervical ripening, induction of labor) and for severe bleeding after delivery. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. When misoprostol is used vaginally for these purposes, it works by causing the womb muscles to contract.
How To Use
This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read it carefully. If you have any questions about this drug, ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.
If you are taking this drug to prevent stomach ulcers, take it by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually four times a day. Take it after meals and at bedtime to minimize diarrhea.
If you are taking this medication for abortion, take it by mouth exactly as directed by your doctor.
If you are using this medication to start labor, your healthcare professional will insert it into your vagina.
Avoid taking antacids that contain magnesium while using misoprostol because they may make the diarrhea it causes worse. If you need an antacid, consult your doctor or pharmacist to help you choose a product.
For ulcer prevention, continue to take this drug for as long as you take NSAIDs. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. Remember to use it at the same times each day.
Inform your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
Nausea or stomach cramps may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Diarrhea is common with misoprostol and usually occurs about two weeks after you start taking it, and lasts for about a week. Be sure to keep up your intake of fluids and minerals/electrolytes to prevent dehydration. Diarrhea that doesn't stop may sometimes lead to a large loss of your body's water and minerals. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of these serious signs of dehydration and mineral imbalance:
- decreased urination
- mental/mood changes
- muscle weakness
- slow/irregular heartbeat
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including:
- menstrual problems or irregularities
- unusual/heavy vaginal bleeding
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including:
- itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat)
- severe dizziness
- trouble breathing
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US -
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking misoprostol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of:
- stomach/intestinal disease (such as inflammatory bowel disease)
Daily use of alcohol and tobacco may increase your risk for stomach bleeding. Limit alcohol beverages and stop smoking. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
If you are taking this medication in combination with mifepristone to end a pregnancy, an incomplete abortion may rarely occur. It is very important for you to be closely monitored by your doctor and to keep your scheduled appointments to follow your progress. Be sure to have clear instructions from your doctor about who to call and what to do in case of an emergency. Expect vaginal bleeding after you take the combined medicine, however tell your doctor right away if you develop any unlikely symptoms such as severe/prolonged vaginal bleeding, signs of infection (including fever, chills), or fainting.
This drug must not be used during pregnancy to prevent stomach ulcers because of possible harm to an unborn baby (see also Warnings). If you are of childbearing age, use effective birth control methods while taking misoprostol and for at least one month or one completed menstrual cycle after you stop taking it. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, inform your doctor right away.
This medication passes into breast milk. However, this drug is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
See also the How to Use section.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Alberta residents can call PADIS (Poison and Drug Information Service) 24 hours a day at 1-800-332-1414. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, seizures, severe dizziness, slow/irregular heartbeats.
Do not share this medication with others.
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose. Use your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.
If you have questions about missing a dose or you don't have more medication, contact your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Store at or below 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) in a dry place away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.