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Misoprostol Can Reduce Acute Postpartum Hemorrhage

Stomach ulcer drug can reduce maternal mortality in developing countries

FRIDAY, Oct. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Oral administration of misoprostol immediately after childbirth significantly reduces the rate of acute postpartum hemorrhage in low-resources settings, according to a report published in the Oct. 7 issue of The Lancet.

Stacie E. Geller, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues conducted a placebo-controlled trial of 1,620 women in rural India, in which 812 received oral misoprostol and 808 received placebo after delivery. The primary outcome of acute postpartum hemorrhage was defined as blood loss of at least 500 mL within the first two hours after delivery.

The drug reduced the rate of acute postpartum hemorrhage by almost half, from 12 percent to 6.4 percent, and reduced the rate of severe acute postpartum hemorrhage from 1.2 percent to 0.2 percent. It was also associated with a reduction in mean postpartum blood loss from 262.3 mL to 214.3 mL. However, among the misoprostol group there was a higher rate of chills and fever compared with those in the control group.

"Our results show that oral misoprostol is safe, effective and inexpensive for women giving birth in low-resources settings, and is currently the only available pharmacological option for preventing postpartum hemorrhage and reducing postpartum blood loss in these communities," the authors conclude.

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