Sublingual misoprostol versus oxytocin infusion to reduce blood loss at cesarean section

N Vimala, S Mittal, S Kumar
International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics 2006, 92 (2): 106-10

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of sublingual misoprostol administered immediately after delivery of the neonate at cesarean section, with intravenous oxytocin infusion in prevention of uterine atony and thereby reducing blood loss at cesarean section.

METHODS: One hundred women with singleton term pregnancy undergoing elective or emergency lower segment cesarean section under spinal anesthesia were included in this study. They were randomly allocated to receive either misoprostol 400 mug sublingually or intravenous infusion of 20 units of oxytocin soon after delivery of the neonate. The main outcome measures were blood loss at cesarean section, change in hemoglobin levels, need for additional oxytocics and drug related side effects.

RESULTS: The mean blood loss estimated was significantly lower in misoprostol group compared to oxytocin group (819 ml versus 974 ml; p = 0.004). The number of women who had blood loss exceeding 500 ml and the change in hemoglobin, however, was comparable between the two groups. There was a need for additional oxytocic therapy in 16% and 18% after use of misoprostol and oxytocin respectively (p = 0.673). The incidence of side effects such as pyrexia, shivering and metallic taste was significantly higher in misoprostol group compared to oxytocin group.

CONCLUSION: Sublingual misoprostol appears to be as effective as intravenous infusion of oxytocin in reducing blood loss at cesarean section. However, occurrence of transient side effects such as shivering and pyrexia were noted more frequently with the use of misoprostol.

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