Abuse of Misoprostol Worries Medical Practioners

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In short
However, medical practitioners are concerned that the drug is frequently sought after to procure unsafe abortions.

Medical practitioners have expressed concern about the increased use of Misoprostol to procure abortion. Misoprostol is cheap drug that was introduced to save lives and prevent excessive bleeding after child birth. It was originally licensed for postpartum hemorrhage or excessive bleeding after child birth and treatment of gastric ulcers. In October 2006, WHO included Misoprostol in its recommendations for the prevention of bleeding after child birth.  It emphasized that the drug was essential in settings where care is not available. The drug is available to mothers in Uganda’s health facilities.

However, medical practitioners are concerned that the drug is frequently sought after to procure unsafe abortions. Dr. Arafat Mugabe of Marie Stopes at Kavule Health Centre explains that the Misoprostol causes the uterus to contract, if used outside the health prescriptions it leads to incomplete abortions and related complications.

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A mini survey by Uganda Radio Network in a number of pharmacies in Kampala, established that the drug is old off the counter, while some operators of some pharmacies claimed that they don’t stock the drug. Those with Misoprostol said it was common to receive women asking for the drug without prescription. One pharmacist said numbers of clients looking for misoprostal –without prescription is on the increase as the academic term begins.  

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Speaking to URN on the matter, Sakina Kiggundu a Registered Nurse and Midwife from the Uganda Private Midwife Association- UPMA explained that although Misoprostol is a multipurpose drug, it is administered in different doses for separate ailments. Dr. Simon Peter Lugoloobi at Reproductive Health Uganda pointed out that those seeking the drug are known to use overdoses which in most cases lead to abortions. In such cases, they will require post abortion care Lugoloobi says.

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In Uganda, unsafe abortions account for 26 percent of maternal mortality although they are preventable.