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What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking misoprostol (Cytotec)?
Before taking misoprostol, tell your doctor if you have inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other intestinal problems. You may need a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment with misoprostol.
Do not take misoprostol for the prevention of stomach ulcers if you are pregnant or if you might become pregnant during treatment. If you do become pregnant during treatment with misoprostol, stop taking the medication and contact your doctor immediately. Misoprostol is in the FDA pregnancy category X. This means that misoprostol is known to be harmful to an unborn baby. Misoprostol can cause miscarriage or spontaneous abortion (sometimes incomplete which could lead to dangerous bleeding and require hospitalization and surgery), premature birth, or birth defects. Misoprostol has also been reported to cause uterine rupture (tearing) when given after the eighth week of pregnancy, which can result in severe bleeding, hysterectomy, and/or maternal or fetal death. A pregnancy test with negative results will be required within 2 weeks of starting treatment with misoprostol, and treatment will begin only on the second or third day of a regular menstrual cycle. Also, appropriate contraception will be needed to prevent pregnancy during treatment and for one menstrual cycle following treatment. In some cases, misoprostol may be used under the supervision of a doctor for the induction of labor and delivery or abortion.
It is not known whether misoprostol passes into breast milk. Do not take misoprostol without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take misoprostol (Cytotec)?
Take misoprostol exactly as directed by your doctor. If you do not understand these directions, ask your pharmacist, nurse, or doctor to explain them to you.
Take each dose with a full glass of water.
Misoprostol is usually taken four times a day, with meals and at bedtime. Follow your doctor's instructions.
Misoprostol may cause mild to moderate diarrhea, stomach cramps, and/or nausea. These problems usually occur during the first few weeks of treatment and stop after about a week. The occurrence of diarrhea may be minimized by taking misoprostol with food. Contact your doctor if these symptoms persist for longer than 8 days or if they are severe.
Take misoprostol for the full amount of time prescribed by your doctor. Treatment usually continues for as long as aspirin or an NSAID is taken.
Do not share this medication with anyone else. Misoprostol has been prescribed for your specific condition, may not be the correct treatment for another person, and would be dangerous if the other person were pregnant.
Store misoprostol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Digestive Disorders Resources
- Fiber for Constipation
- Is It Okay to Take a Stool Softener Every Day?
- The Truth About Food Allergies