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The Dangers of Cytotec

In modern day Obstetrics, we are seeing a drug by the name of cytotec, also known as Misoprostol which is a commonly used ulcer drug, with a label that warns the drug is not to be used on pregnant women.  As you can see to the left, the label shows a pregnant woman, in a circle with a large red line through it. If that doesn’t show it is not meant to be used on pregnant women, I don’t know what else they would have to put on it to show this.

But why is this drug being used?  While some hospitals have banned the drug, others are still openly allowing woman’s labors to be induced using this drug. Including hospitals right here in the state of Connecticut.  During the past few years, while the controversy over cytotec continues to brew, several news sources have started to question the use of the drug in pregnant women, including WSMV out of Tennessee which aired a story including three women, all who have lawsuits centered around the use of cytotec to induce labor.

Former head of Women & Children’s health at the World Health Organization Marsden Wagner spoke about Cytotec in the recent birth documentary The Business of Being Born by Ricki Lake :

This clip not only shows the type of trial and error mentality regarding birth today, but it also shows the history of where this same mentality, and dangerous behavior has landed mothers, and babies.

Cytotec can cause complications such as :

  • uterine rupture (even in women without previous cesarean sections)
  • postpartum hemorrhage
  • fetal distress
  • amniotic embolism
  • fetal death

All associated with hyper-stimulation of the uterus which is what cytotec causes.

Danielle Elwood

12 Responses

  1. Stephanie says:

    I took Cytotec to expel my dead baby at 15 1/2 weeks. I just learned my baby was dead and then it was given to me to deliver, only it didn’t work and then I had to have a D&C. I am still disturbed by this and have had after effects that to me have been strange. Can someone please tell me what should have happened? And should I do anything now to prevent this happening to others or is that possible?

  2. […] A lot of these are hit or miss. They may or may not work, but many women feel the need to try anything in hopes of avoiding a medical induction with drugs like pitocin, or even cytotec (which is not FDA approved for use in pregnant women). […]

  3. Well hell. I had both pregnancies, with 2 different providers, induced with cytotech and I don’t recall ever being told there were such extreme side effects. And I did have really fast labors…I just figured it was because my mom did too. Both times too, when I’d laugh about how fast my labor was, my grandmother said, “It’s not right, how fast you two have babies.” I guess she was on to something!

    I’m sorry, I’m rambling…I’m just kind of stunned right now. And feeling stupid for consenting to something I knew nothing about.

  4. Kayce says:

    I’m just curious how someone could think that a medication that has an image on the front with a pregnant woman with a circle and a slash through can mean it is okay for them to take it. There is a REASON that the FDA does not sanction this medication for use in pregnant women. OBs and some midwives love it because it causes some very fast labors and most times even first time moms will have the baby in hours (a lot better than how unpredictable labor can be, but if you want that, you SHOULDN’T BE AN OB OR MIDWIFE).

    Women die from having cytotec. And the women dying from uterine rupture have never had a cesarean, because they took cytotec for induction!

    This medication shouldn’t be used on pregnant women. Period. Even if it is an abortion you are having, or a miscarriage that isn’t leaving the body.

    Women die. And when our country is said to be the safest in the world for everyone, then listen to the research and studies, and stop using this awful medication for things other than ulcers.

    Great post again!

  5. elwood says:

    I could not agree more Jessica!

  6. Jessica says:

    Are you kidding me? I thought this got banned ages ago like when the company refused to endorse it’s use for labor induction. Had the company endorsed it they would have kept their patent for 7 more years and made a crap load of money. That in itself speaks volumes about the safety issues surrounding this drug.

  7. elwood says:

    I am assuming that my point went right over your head. In healthy low risk women, WITH NO RISK FACTORS (EXAMPLE : Previous Cesarean Birth) uterine rupture is NOT something that just HAPPENS.

    Even with VBAC, the risk of Uterine Rupture is 0.6%

    Cytotec causes uterine rupture in women with NO risk factors. NO previous cesarean, NO high risk conditions… Healthy every day pregnant women, which is WHY it shouldn’t be used, and WHY it is NOT FDA approved for labor induction, which is the point of this post.

  8. anon says:

    Anything cannot cause uterine rupture: A vbac can cause this. The fact of the matter things can and do go wrong in the best of births.

  9. elwood says:

    This just shows how little you know about serious complications.
    Anything cannot cause uterine rupture.
    Anything cannot cause hyper-stimulation of the uterus.
    Anything cannot cause a amniotic embolism.
    Direct and serious complications and interventions LEAD to these issues.

  10. Sabrina says:

    Thanks for this great piece helping to enlighten women about the dangerous and casual use of this drug on laboring women. A group was created on Facebook in honor of a mom and baby who died as a result of this drug. Slowly but surely women are hearing of the dangers. Unfortunately it is all too often after the fact and not from their trusted doctor!

  11. anon says:

    Anything can cause any of those things

  12. Brandi says:

    I just found out from a client that they routinely use Cytotec at the hospital here. I gave her all kinds of info on the dangers and will now include this post in my educational materials. It’s scary to think that so-called “highly educated” doctors and administrators allow an Rx that clearly states is not to be used on pregnant women to be used without women knowing the whole truth. So.very.sad.