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Oxytocics are a group of medicine that stimulate contraction of the uterus. They are commonly used to induce labour, to prevent control postpartum or post abortion hemorrhage, and to assess fetal status in high risk pregnancies. There are different families of medicines used as oxytocic such us oxytocin (hormone analog), certain prostaglandins (as misoprostol) and ergot alkaloids (ergometrine and methylergometrine).

Oxytocin is used in management of first stage of labour, helping to reduce the duration of delivery as well as the incidence of prolonged labour, reducing caesarean rates.  Oxytocin is only available in injection form and it must be stored between 2 - 8 ˚C[1]. There are two preparations of Oxytocin: 10 units/1ml and 5 units /1ml solution for injection ampoules. Commercial brands are available from several manufactures (as Fresenius Kabi USA, approval on July 1980[2]). This drug must be administrate only by health professional such as trained midwife or doctors. Due to the storage conditions and high price, may not be possible to use oxytocin in developing countries delivery interventions as much as it could be used.  

Misoprostol (also others ergot alkaloids) is an important drug in the treatment and prevention of excessive uterine bleeding following obstetric delivery.  An uncontrolled postpartum bleeding is a major cause of direct maternal death, especially in developing countries. Misoprostol is available in 100 and 200 micrograms tablets. Brand innovator acquired the commercial approval in December, 1988 under the name of Cytotec® and is manufactured by GD Searle Llc2. This active ingredient has two properties that have attracted great interest: It is a relatively inextensible medicine and it is stable at room temperature[3]. Health worker who will administer misoprostol should be trained in its correct use administration before birth of the baby and to avoid its administration before birth an incorrect doses.

[1] WHO action program for essential Drugs. Stability of injectable Oxytocics in tropical Climates, Geneva 1993

[2] FDA Website Drugs Database

[3] WHO Statement. Use of Misoprostol for postpartum prevention and treatment, Geneva 2009


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