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What Is Misoprostol Used For?

How Does This Medicine Work?

Misoprostol is a type of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance found naturally in the body. Prostaglandins help protect the stomach lining from stomach acid and other harmful substances. NSAIDs block the production of prostaglandins in the body, which is part of the reason these drugs increase the risk for ulcers. Misoprostol works to prevent stomach ulcers caused by NSAIDs by protecting the lining of the stomach and decreasing stomach acid secretion.

Can Children Use Misoprostol?

Misoprostol has not been approved for use in children, as it has not been adequately studied in this age group (usually considered individuals younger than 18 years old).

What About Off-Label Uses?

On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend misoprostol for something other than the conditions listed in this article. This is called an "off-label" use. Some off-label uses for misoprostol may include:
  • Causing an abortion
  • Inducing labor (see Cytotec and Pregnancy for more information)
  • Treating ulcers, including small intestinal ulcers (duodenal ulcers) and stomach ulcers
  • Dilating the cervix in preparation for certain gynecological procedures
  • Treating chronic constipation.
When used to induce labor or cause an abortion, misoprostol is sometimes given intravaginally (inserted into the vagina) instead of taken by mouth.

Misoprostol Drug Information

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