Prostaglandin analog to prevent NSAID-induced peptic ulcer
Misoprostol is taken two times a day, or four times a day in
Arthrotec is a medicine that contains both an NSAID (diclofenac)
How It Works
Misoprostol reduces the amount of acid produced by the stomach and
enhances protection of the lining of the stomach and the upper small intestine
Misoprostol does not reduce the effectiveness of NSAIDs in treating
arthritis or other painful, long-term (chronic) diseases.
Why It Is Used
Misoprostol is sometimes used to decrease the risk of
peptic ulcer disease in people who must use large
doses of NSAIDs to treat arthritis or other painful, long-term (chronic)
How Well It Works
Misoprostol works to prevent ulcers and problems caused by
ulcers (such as bleeding) in people who use NSAIDs long-term.2
side effects of this medicine are common and unpleasant. Because of this, using misoprostol is
not always a good choice. Using an acid reducer (such as a proton pump
inhibitor) along with NSAIDs to prevent peptic ulcers works just as well without the unpleasant side effects. Taking a lower dose of misoprostol may also help prevent ulcers but with fewer side effects.1
The side effects of misoprostol include:
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea can be prevented by using a
lower dose, but a lower dose may not be as effective.
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference
is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Misoprostol should not be used during pregnancy, because it can
cause miscarriage. Women who could become pregnant are given the medicine only
after they are tested and found to not be pregnant. Women must use a reliable
method of contraception while taking this medicine.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Lanza FL, et al. (2009). Guidelines for prevention of NSAID-related ulcer complications. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 104(3): 728-738.
Rostom A, et al. (2002). Prevention of NSAID-induced gastroduodenal ulcers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).