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Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Nov;39(4):414-9.

A randomized clinical trial comparing oral misoprostol with synthetic oxytocin or syntometrine in the third stage of labour.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Sydney at Nepean Hospital Penrith, New South Wales, Australia.


This is a multicentre, blocked, randomized trial to compare the efficacy of oral misoprostol 400 microg with current injectable uterotonic agents (oxytocin/ Syntometrine) used prophylactically in the third stage of labour. Main outcome measures were blood loss, use of a second uterotonic agent and difference in haemoglobin level from antepartum to postpartum. Data analysis from 863 women showed a statistically significant increase in both the mean blood loss (p < 0.001) and the rate of postpartum haemorrhage > 500 mL, (RR 2.72: 95% C1 1.73-4.27) in the misoprostol group compared to the oxytocin/Syntometrine group. The use of a second uterotonic agent was higher in the misoprostol group (RR 2.89: 95% Cl 2.00-4.18) as well as a greater decrease in postpartum haemoglobin (p = 0.015). Oral misoprostol 400 microg is significantly less effective than the traditional intramuscular uterotonic agents currently used and therefore cannot be considered as a viable option to these agents in the management of the third stage of labour.

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