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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2007 Dec;99 Suppl 2:S198-201. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Prevention of postpartum hemorrhage with misoprostol.

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School of Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


As a stable, orally active and cheap uterotonic, misoprostol would appear ideally suited to the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in the developing world. Following numerous clinical trials, it appears that misoprostol prophylaxis using an oral or sublingual dose of 600 microg is more effective than placebo at preventing PPH in community births (relative risk 0.59, 95% confidence intervals 0.41-0.84), but not in hospital settings (RR 1.23, 95% CI 0.86-1.74). It is, however, not as effective as injectable oxytocin (RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.16 to 1.55). Misoprostol is therefore indicated for prevention of PPH in settings where injectable conventional uterotonics are not available. In the event of continued hemorrhage, a minimum of 2 h should lapse after the original dose before a second dose is given. If the initial dose was associated with pyrexia or marked shivering, at least 6 h should lapse before the second dose is given.

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