Cytotec and Pregnancy
It is important that women not take Cytotec (misoprostol) during pregnancy, as this drug can cause harm to the fetus. As a pregnancy Category X medication, Cytotec may cause miscarriage, birth defects, or premature birth. To avoid dangerous complications, a woman must take a pregnancy test before taking Cytotec and use effective birth control during treatment.
Can Pregnant Women Take Cytotec?Pregnant women should not take Cytotec® (misoprostol). When used during pregnancy, the drug can cause miscarriage, premature labor, and birth defects. Based on these risks, Cytotec is considered a pregnancy Category X medication.
What Is Pregnancy Category X?The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when a specific medicine is taken during pregnancy. Pregnancy Category X is given to medicines that show problems to the fetus in animal studies or in human use of the drug. With this category, the potential risks clearly outweigh the potential benefits.
Cytotec can cause contractions of the uterus and uterine bleeding, which can cause premature birth or miscarriage. In addition, the drug has been associated with birth defects when given to pregnant women in the first trimester, including defects of the skull, face, and limbs (arms and legs).
Cytotec is sometimes used off-label to induce labor or to cause an abortion. It should be noted that the drug has been reported to cause a potentially serious problem known as uterine rupture (a tear in the lining of the uterus) when used for these purposes in women who are more than eight weeks pregnant. Uterine rupture can harm an unborn child and the mother.
Women of childbearing potential should only take Cytotec to prevent ulcers from nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory use if they are at a high risk for ulcers or ulcer complications. Before a woman of childbearing potential can take Cytotec she must:
- Have a negative blood pregnancy test within two weeks of starting the medicine
- Use an effective form of birth control throughout treatment
- Receive written and verbal information about the risks of using Cytotec during pregnancy, the risks of possible contraception failure, and the dangers to other women of childbearing potential should the drug be taken by mistake
- Begin Cytotec on the second or third day of the next normal menstrual period.