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Stud Fam Plann. 1993 Jul-Aug;24(4):236-40.

The Brazilian experience with Cytotec.

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  • 1Maternal and Child Health Division, Institute of Health, São Paulo, Brazil.


Cytotec, the commercial name for misoprostol, which is a synthetic analogue of prostaglandin E1, was approved for use in Brazil in 1986 to treat gastric and duodenal ulcers. The drug can and has also been used to induce abortion, which has created controversy in a country in which induced abortion is illegal. A study of the drug was undertaken in 1992 that included analyses of the drug's sales profile, of information published by the media, and of its use from women's and gynecologists' points of view, the latter examined using qualitative methodologies. The analysis of Cytotec's sales volume showed quick growth from its introduction until the first half of 1991, when its use was restricted by the Ministry of Health. For women, Cytotec's main advantages have been that it is relatively inexpensive, convenient to use, and can be used in private. Data obtained from gynecologists show that Cytotec's addition to the obstetric therapeutic arsenal was welcome and also confirmed the drug's influence in reducing the complications of illegal abortions shown in other studies.

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