Misoprostol for the treatment of early pregnancy failure

Sheila A. Doggrel

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


    Nearly 20% of all pregnancies end in early pregnancy failure, and surgical evacuation of retained products of conception is often used to manage this failure. Misoprostol is an inexpensive, stable analog of prostaglandin E1, and is powerful at contracting the uterus. With intravaginal misoprostol, the peak plasma levels are lower, but the levels after 4 hours are higher, than after oral or sublingual administration. With oral misoprostol, the evacuation rates in early pregnancy varied from about 50% up to 96%. Similar variation in evacuation rates were obtained from small trials with intravaginal misoprostol. To date, only small studies have used sublingual misoprostol, and there has been no direct comparison to oral or intravaginal misoprostol. A recent large clinical trial has shown, that with intravaginal misoprostol 800 μg, an expulsion rate of 84% can be achieved by 8 days. This large trial also established that women prefer misoprostol to surgical evacuation. Two economic evaluations have shown that misoprostol treatment is less costly than surgical intervention. On the basis of recent findings, it seems likely that misoprostol treatment will become a standard or preferred treatment for early pregnancy failure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)-
    Number of pages9
    JournalCurrent Clinical Pharmacology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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