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Misoprostol (Cytotec®)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Normally, the stomach produces gastric acid to assist in digestion. Under certain conditions, however, this acid can injure the lining (mucosa) of the stomach. The result can be stomach ulcers or erosions ("scratches") in the stomach lining. Ulcers are also a common consequence of treatment with some drugs, especially NSAID drugs, such as aspirin.
  • When there is a risk of ulcer formation, there are a number of ways to heal the stomach or protect the lining. These anti-ulcer treatments can be classified as antacids (Maalox®), H2 blockers (Pepcid AC®), proton pump blockers (Prilosec®) and prostaglandin analogs, such as the drug misoprostol.
  • Misoprostol inhibits stomach acid secretions and has a protective effect on blood flow and the lining of the stomach wall.
  • Misoprostol is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration but it is prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: Cytotec® (Searle)
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Misoprostol

  • Misoprostol is used to prevent and treat stomach ulcers.
  • It is especially helpful in treating and preventing ulcers caused by the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, misoprostol can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Misoprostol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Misoprostol should not be used in pregnant animals, due to the potential for causing abortion.
  • Little information is available on the use of misoprostol in cats. For this reason, use in cats is not recommended.
  • Misoprostol may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with misoprostol. Such drugs include certain antacids.
  • The most commonly reported adverse effects are vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
  • Typically, adverse effects are transient and resolve quickly.
  • Pregnant women should be very careful when handling misoprostol as the drug can induce uterine contractions or labor.

    How Misoprostol Is Supplied

  • Misoprostol is available in 100 mcg and 200 mcg tablets.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Misoprostol is commonly dosed at 1 to 2 mcg per pound (2 to 5 mcg/kg) three to four times daily.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless specifically directed by your veterinarian. Even if your pet feels better, the entire treatment plan should be completed to prevent relapse.

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