Some would say this is old news, but the topic still hasn't gotten the attention from the US populace as it should so I'm writing about the dangers of Cytotec induction.
Cyotec is a drug developed for repair of stomach ulcers developed by the pharmaceutical company Searle. The company placed a warning on the label stating it is contraindicated for use in pregnant women as it can cause uterine contractions, leading to preterm labor. The obstetrical community put two and two together and thought, “Hey, we could use this to induce labor! Let’s try it.” So they did. No studies or trials to see the effects. They just started doing; often without the consent of their patients.
The active ingredient of Cytotec is the hormone misoprostol which when inserted into the vagina in capsule form softens the cervix and hastens dilation. Strong contractions are also brought on. Because the drug is being used against label it is hard to determine proper dosing. OBs are using the high tech method of cutting capsules into smaller pieces. Also, once inserted the capsule can not be removed so deleterious effects cannot be stopped or reversed once too high a dosage is given.
The FDA got wind of it and issued warnings to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology who in turn told OBs that Cytotec should not be used to induce labor, especially not in women who have previous had a C-section; instead recommending that every women who has had a prior C-section have another. But that’s another post all together. (For risks of C-sections see What They Don’t Tell You About C-sections) However, use of Cytotec for inductions is still commonplace in many hospitals across the county.
Off-label (or more appropriately against label) use of Cytotec in pregnant women can lead maternal or fetal death, uterine hyper-stimulation, rupture or perforation requiring uterine surgical repair, hysterectomy or salpingo-oophorectomy, amniotic fluid embolism, severe vaginal bleeding, retained placenta, shock, fetal bradycardia and pelvic pain. The risks of this happening spike dramatically if the woman has already had a prior C-section.
An example of a death caused by Cytotec induction is Tatia Oden French who was induced at the age of 33 with her first child. The Cytotec caused hyper-stimulation of her uterus that could not be reverses, leading to her uterus rupturing and ultimately her death as well as the death of her child during emergency surgery.
Her family started the Tatia Oden French Memorial Foundation to prevent this misuse of the drug from killing or harming other mothers and infants.
The foundation also started an online petition to the FDA to cut down on doctors known to be use the drug despite its warnings and contraindications.
Please sign the Petition