Misoprostol is used to prevent and treat stomach ulcers.
Take the tablets with a meal.
The most common side-effect is diarrhoea. If this happens, drink plenty of water.
|Type of medicine||A prostaglandin analogue anti-ulcer agent|
|Used for||To treat or prevent stomach and duodenal ulcers|
Misoprostol is similar to naturally made protective substances in your body called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help to protect the lining of your stomach and intestines. Taking misoprostol will help prevent you from getting ulcers in your stomach and the part of your intestines next to your stomach, which is called the duodenum. Ulcers in these areas are often caused by taking painkillers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs for short). Two common examples of these medicines are diclofenac and naproxen. NSAIDs may reduce the natural amount of prostaglandins in your stomach and intestine, which causes indigestion and may lead to ulcers forming. Misoprostol tablets will replace your natural prostaglandins so you can continue getting benefit from your NSAID painkiller. If you already have an ulcer, misoprostol will help it to heal.
Occasionally, misoprostol may be prescribed for a use which is not covered by this medicine leaflet. If you have been prescribed misoprostol for a reason other than those listed above, you should ask your doctor if you have any questions about your treatment.
Before taking misoprostol
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking misoprostol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have low or high blood pressure, or any disease of your blood vessels or heart.
- If you have inflammatory bowel disease.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take misoprostol
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about misoprostol tablets and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
- Take the tablets exactly as your doctor has told you. It is likely that you will be asked to take one tablet 2-4 times a day. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you what dose is right for you, and this will also be printed on the label of the pack to remind you. Take each of your doses with a snack or just after eating a meal.
- If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If, when you remember, it is nearly time for your next dose, leave out the forgotten dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
- Treatment with misoprostol may be long-term, especially if you are taking anti-inflammatory medicines regularly. Continue to take misoprostol until your doctor advises otherwise.
- If you need to take an indigestion remedy, choose one that does not contain magnesium. Your pharmacist will be able to give you advice about which antacids and other medicines are suitable for you to buy to take alongside misoprostol.
- It is very important that women do not become pregnant while on misoprostol. This is because misoprostol is harmful to unborn babies. If you have not yet been through the menopause and this is something which could be a concern for you, ask your doctor about what contraception is suitable for you and your partner.
- If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Can misoprostol cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common misoprostol side-effects - these affect around 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Diarrhoea||Make sure you take misoprostol tablets after food to minimise this. Drink plenty of water to replace lost fluids. If it continues or becomes severe, speak with your doctor for further advice|
|Feeling sick or being sick, abdominal pain, indigestion, wind||Make sure you take misoprostol tablets after food. Avoid rich and spicy meals|
|Vaginal bleeding||Speak with your doctor about this|
|Feeling dizzy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel better|
|Headache, constipation, rash||If any of these become troublesome, ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable remedy|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store misoprostol
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Cytotec® tablets; Pharmacia Limited, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2010.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Prof Cathy Jackson|
|Last Checked: 31/10/2012||Document ID: 3208 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.