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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Jan;190(1):55-9.

A randomized controlled comparison of sublingual and vaginal administration of misoprostol for cervical priming before first-trimester surgical abortion.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.



The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the sublingual and vaginal administration of misoprostol for cervical priming before surgical termination of pregnancy.


In a randomized controlled trial, 74 primigravid women who were undergoing surgical abortion were assigned randomly to receive misoprostol (400 microg) sublingually or vaginally.


There was no statistically significant difference in the cumulative force that was required to dilate the cervix to 9 mm, for baseline cervical dilatation, for priming to abortion interval, for operating time, or for intraoperative blood loss between the two groups. Women in the sublingual group had more nausea (P=.008), vomiting (P=.01), diarrhea (P=.01), and unpleasant mouth taste (P=.0001) compared with the women in the vaginal group. In the sublingual group, 65% of women were satisfied with the route of misoprostol administration compared with 78% in the vaginal group (P=.11). Most of the staff members (84%) said that they would recommend the sublingual administration of misoprostol (P=.0001).


The sublingual administration of misoprostol is an effective alternative to vaginal administration for cervical priming before surgical abortion; despite a higher incidence of side effects, there was high patient and staff acceptability.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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