Cytotec: Uses, Side-Effects, Interactions, Dosage, And More


What Is Cytotec?

Cytotec is the brand name for the generic drug called misoprostol. One of the main benefits of Cytotec is that it prevents stomach ulcers if you are on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID). Other than that, it is also used to successfully terminate a pregnancy.

However, the FDA has not approved Cytotec for obstetric or gynecological purposes yet. It gained approval for the former purpose back in 1998. Cytotec is available as a generic drug, but not without a prescription.

Just like many other drugs and medicines, besides the benefits of Cytotec, it also has its side-effects. This article discusses all possible side-effects, interactions, and precautions of Cytotec.

Uses Of Cytotec

As mentioned above, one of the main benefits of Cytotec is its ability to prevent NSAID induced ulcers.

1. Cytotec And NSAIDs

Cytotec manages to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers caused by NSAIDs with its ability to function like a prostaglandin. NSAIDs help relieve inflammation caused due to health conditions like arthritis. Some common examples of these non-inflammatory drugs include ibuprofen, aspirin, and so on.

Prostaglandins are produced naturally in the body by many organs, involving the stomach. They are expected to protect the stomach lining from the ulcer-producing effects of NSAIDs as well. But these anti-inflammatory drugs have shown evidence to prove that they suppress the production of naturally occurring prostaglandins in the stomach, thus encouraging ulcers.

Ultimately, this requires the patient to consume prostaglandins artificially to ensure the absence of ulcers in their stomach. Therefore, Cytotec restores the missing prostaglandin in the stomach lining.

2. Cytotec And Abortions

Cytotec (misoprostol) is also used as a method of medical abortion. A medical abortion uses pills to terminate an implanted pregnancy.

Usually, to perform a medical abortion completely and properly one needs to take a combination of two pills – mifepristone and misoprostol.

Mifepristone works to block the production of progesterone in the body first.

The next step is to take misoprostol. It induces cramps and contractions in the uterus that lead to bleeding, thus terminating the pregnancy.

A woman should stop taking Cytotec immediately if she wants to carry the pregnancy to term. Even when taken alone, it can lead to complications like birth defects, premature birth, or a miscarriage. This is due to the uterine contractions and bleeding it causes.

Side-Effects Of Cytotec

The side-effects of Cytotec can range from a severe effect to a mild effect if experienced. Some are extremely rare, while others are quite common.

Severe side effects:

  • Less common side-effect:
    • Abnormalities in liver functions
  • Extremely rare Side-effects:
    • Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
    • Anaphylaxis (a type of allergic reaction)
    • Anemia
    • Unusual heartbeat
    • Seizures
    • Low blood platelets
    • Blotching of skin (purple or brown)
    • Bronchospasm (a contraction of bronchial tubes or airways)
    • CNS toxicity
    • Gout (a type of arthritis)
    • Uterine rupture

Mild side effect:

  • Common side-effects:
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Less common side-effects:
    • Constipation
    • Acidity
    • Headache
    • Digestive issues
    • Vomiting
  • Extremely rare side-effects:
    • Depression and anxiety
    • Sleepiness
    • Weakness in muscles
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Backache
    • Disorientation
    • Excessive urination and sweating
    • Mastalgia (breast pain)
    • Fever and chills
    • Menstrual problems
    • Inflamed gums

This is not a complete list of the side-effects of Cytotec. Talk to a medical health professional to weigh the side-effects and benefits of Cytotec according to your circumstances.


Drugs, other than the ones listed below, might react with Cytotec. This includes vitamins, herbs, and over-the-counter medicines. Provide your doctor with a complete list of all medicines you take currently or used to take.

  • Magnesium: Magnesium antacids and Cytotec might react together to make diarrhea worse. An antacid in itself can reduce the efficacy of Cytotec. If you need an antacid, talk to your doctor, they might be able to suggest a better alternative. You can also use aluminum or calcium-containing antacids.
  • Oxytocin: Cytotec can effectively amplify the impact of oxytocin. This applies to all other kinds of prostaglandins as well. Consume the two drugs at least 4 hours apart.
  • Dinoprostone topical: Cytotec and dinoprostone topical can interact to cause excessive bleeding and stomach cramps. It is highly recommended to avoid taking them together.
  • Quinapril: Quinapril easily unites with Cytotec in the gastrointestinal gland. This reduces the efficacy of Cytotec since it does not allow for it to be absorbed in the bloodstream. Consume drugs 2 to 3 hours apart to avoid this.
  • Diarrhea: Diarrhea is an extremely common side-effect of Cytotec. It affects over 40 percent of the patients who consume it. Thus, it is important to administer patients who have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease or dehydration.
  • Cardiovascular diseases: Though extremely rare, Cytotec can cause heart attacks, high blood pressure, or low blood pressure in its patients. A pre-existing cardiovascular disease will only increase the risk of these side-effects. Thus, it is important to carefully administer patients of Cytotec with cardiovascular disease.


Talk to your physician about your dosage for a better understanding. You can also take a look at the leaflet that comes with the medicine.

1. NSAID Therapy

If Cytotec is being taken to reduce the risk of ulcers during NSAID therapy, a 200mcg dose is advised. Take this dose four times a day with food. In case your body is intolerant to this dosage; you can also use a dose of 100mcg.

It is important to take all doses with meals and the last dose of the day before bedtime. Continue taking Cytotec regularly throughout the duration of your NSAID therapy for best results. Take it at the same time every day.

2. Medical Abortion

Take Cytotec right after or within 48 hours of taking mifepristone if you are using it to terminate an implanted pregnancy.

Do not take it if you are not sure about aborting the fetus. It can lead to many complications like incomplete abortion, miscarriage, excessive bleeding, birth defects, among others.

3. Labor

Inducing labor in women is another function of Cytotec. The doctor might insert it into the vagina directly.

Warnings And Precautions

Inform your health care provider of the following prior to initiating the therapy:

  • Any allergies (This includes allergies to any kind of prostaglandin)
  • Gastrointestinal conditions (example – inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Pregnancy history (cesarean delivery, more than 5 pregnancies, uterine surgery)
  • Alcohol and tobacco use

The above-mentioned factors of pregnancy history might increase the risk of uterine rupture in the patient. Excessive alcohol and tobacco use can cause stomach bleeding. Completely avoid these substances if possible or limit them.

Pregnant women should not consume Cytotec. It can cause harm to the unborn baby, lead to excessive bleeding, among other complications.

Breast milk does contain Cytotec. But so far it has not led to any complications in the infant. However, it is still important to consult a doctor before breastfeeding.

Cytotec should be used to induce labor under strict administration in a hospital. There have been numerous cases of uterine rupture when utilized for induction of labor.


Experts are unsure of how much Cytotec can cause toxicity. A cumulative dose of 1600mcg has been found to be tolerable so far. It only led to a few gastrointestinal problems.

If you want, you can even buy Cytotec online fast delivery from our e-commerce store and get it delivered to your doorstep safely.

Lastly, consult a doctor if you experience any complications or symptoms that refuse to subside. Do not start, stop, or change the dose without consulting a doctor first. Do not share the medicine with others and only use it for the indicated purpose.


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