The first entry in a planned series: What you should know about… or WYSKA. Today’s topic is Cytotec, also known as Misoprostol.
First, a quick description on what Cytotec is, courteous of Wikipedia
Misoprostol is a drug that is used for the prevention of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) induced gastric ulcers, to treat missed miscarriage, to induce labor, and as an abortifacient.
Now for a description, in my own words. Cytotec is a drug that was originally invented to prevent ulcers, and also listed as a drug NOT intended for use with pregnant women. Infact, to this day, the use of Cytotec to induce labor is NOT FDA APPROVED. The FDA has actually released a specific statement stating that Cytotec should NOT be used to induce labor.
Regardless, that is exactly what the most common use for Cytotec is today: the induction of labor. This is completely legal, thanks to a loophole in the medical system that allows a doctor to essentially use a drug for whatever they please once it’s approved for one thing. If you ask an OB/GYN who uses Cytotec regularly to induce labor, they will most likely tell you how common “off-label” use of most drugs is, and it is, however the problem lies much more with the fact that this use is on the label than that it is not. As you can see in the picture above, there is a clear warning (two actually) to not use this drug on pregnant women.
Currently there are eight well-established and respected medical/drug associations that do not recommend using Cytotec to induce labor (as well as several others), and only one who does. Those eight organizations who oppose the use of Cytotec in labor induction are: The FDA, the Cochrane Database, Searle (the manufacturer of Cytotec), the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, All OB organizations in Scandinavia, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, the World Health Organization. The one organization who DOES recommend using Cytotec to induce labor? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. How convenient.
One has to wonder how, when so many other organizations oppose this and when all evidence points to it being unsafe, the ACOG can be okay with the use of this dangerous drug to induce labor. It’s simple, really. The ACOG is full of OB/GYN’s who themselves use Cytotec to induce labor. Very similar to Marlboro saying cigarettes are safe. Cytotec is also extraordinarily cheaper than other labor-inducing drugs, at approximately thirty cents a dose. This is incredibly less in cost than Pitocin ($85/dose), Prepidil ($150/dose) and Cervidil ($175/dose). This is yet more proof of the sad truth that the medical industry, hospitals and most doctors are simply businesses and CEO’s, looking to build a profit for their pockets. Cytotec also causes much more intense and quick labor contractions, and hospitals are on the clock. Many women who have labored in the hospital can tell you: You enter the hospital in labor and the timer kicks on. If you aren’t progressing quick enough for them to be home for dinner or the ball game, interventions will begin, and Cytotec is the perfect labor intervention. It’s cheap and quick. What more could an OB want?
|Drug||Cost Per Dose|
|Cytotec||$.30 (thirty cents)|
|Pitocin||$85 (eighty-five dollars)|
|Prepidil||$150 (one-hundred and fifty dollars)|
|Cervidil||$175 (one hundred and seventy-five dollars)|
Just this year, a lawyer won a $70 million lawsuit against a company whom owned a hospital which used Cytotec to induce a pregnant woman. The drug caused overly-forceful contractions and compromised blood flow and oxygen to the fetus which led to developmental issues for the child. If that isn’t enough to make you want to stay as far away from Cytotec as possible, consider some other facts.
Cytotec, when used for labor induction, can cause hyperstimulation of the uterus which in turn can cause uterine rupture or amniotic fluid embolism (when fetal cells or amniotic fluid enter the mother’s blood stream, causing an allergic reaction) Other side effects that have been reported have been pelvic pain, retained placenta, severe genital bleeding, shock, fetal bradycardia (the slow of fetal heart rates to below 100bpm) and fetal and maternal death. By using Cytotec to induce labor, you are also at an increased risk for meconium passage and meconium staining the amniotic fluid. And thanks to the uterine hyperstimulation, your chances of needing a c-section jump, all in the name of cheaper and more intense/quick inductions!
In conclusion, ladies, if your OB wants to induce for any reason, avoid Cytotec like the plague. It is dangerous and not worth the risks. But don’t just trust me, research and make your own decisions. The information out there is insurmountable on this subject.
References I used and other information to assist in personal research:
- Midwifery Today: Cytotec Induction and Off-Label Use
- Wikipedia: Cytotec/Misoprostol
- Law Week: David Woodruff Wins Case Of The Year (Lawsuit over Cytotec induction)
- FDA Drug Info on Cytotec
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Current Trends in Cervical Ripening and Labor Induction
- Cytotec Case: Legal information on Cytotec inductions
- Natural Childbirth Education: Cytotec
- Full Manufacturer’s Warning On The Use of Cytotec
- Science & Sensibility: Spin Doctoring Misoprostol (Cytotec): Unsafe at Any Dose
- The Journal of Perinatal Education: The Freedom to Birth—The Use of Cytotec to Induce Labor: A Non-Evidence-Based Intervention