GENERIC NAME: misoprostol
BRAND NAME: Cytotec
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Misoprostol is a synthetic (man-made) prostaglandin that is used to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers in patients treated with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, for example, aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.) that are used for pain and various inflammatory conditions, for example, arthritis. Misoprostol is used primarily in patients at high risk for stomach ulcers when treated with NSAIDs, for example, the elderly, patients with concomitant debilitating diseases, and patients with a history of ulcers. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are made within many organs of the body including the stomach. In the stomach, prostaglandins are believed to protect the inner lining of the stomach from the ulcer-producing effects of NSAIDs. Scientists now believe that NSAIDs produce ulceration by preventing the production of prostaglandins in the stomach. Synthetic prostaglandins such as misoprostol given orally "replace" the prostaglandins whose production is inhibited by NSAIDs and have been shown to protect the lining of the stomach from NSAID-induced ulcers. Misoprostol was approved by the FDA in December 1988.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 100 and 200 mcg.
STORAGE: Tablets should be kept in a dry area with temperatures at or below 25 C (77 F)
PRESCRIBED FOR: Misoprostol is prescribed for the prevention of NSAID-induced gastric ulcers in patients at high risk for ulceration when treated with NSAIDs. Off-label (non-FDA approved) uses include fetal abortion, cervical ripening procedure during delivery, duodenal and gastric ulcer, and postpartum hemorrhage.
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