In a research report, by researchers from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, findings suggest that a drug used for reducing the risk of stomach ulcers in people may also be used as an alternative to conducting surgery after a miscarriage.
The study appears in the August edition of New England Journal of Medicine.
AdvertisementThe drug, misoprostol, has been used to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers that occur in people who take certain pain relievers for arthritis. Misoprostol is now more commonly used to induce labor, as it stimulates contractions of the uterus.
The study authors wrote that pregnancy failure, or miscarriage, occurs in 15 percent of pregnancies. With miscarriage, in some cases, a fetus dies in the womb, explained the study's first author from the Epidemiology Branch of NICHD's Division of Epidemiology, Statistics, and Prevention Research. In other cases, a fetus may no longer be present, and women may carry a placenta and sac of amniotic fluid.
In all of these cases, the standard treatment is a surgical procedure known as vacuum aspiration. In this procedure, the cervix is dilated, and a suction device is used to remove the uterine contents.
For the current study, researchers had enrolled 652 women who experienced pregnancy failure. Of these, 491 were assigned at random to receive misoprostol. The rest of the women underwent vacuum aspiration.
By the end of the third day, 71 percent of the women receiving misoprostol experienced complete uterine expulsion. After 5 more days had passed, a total of 84 percent of the misoprostol group had complete uterine expulsion. The misoprostol treatment failed for 16 percent of the group, however. In contrast, 3 percent of the vacuum aspiration group experienced treatment failure, and needed to undergo the procedure a second time. Complications from either misoprostol or vacuum aspiration uterine hemorrhage and infection of the uterine lining were rare, occurring in less than 1 percent of each group.
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