Cytotec for IUD insertion?

Is this safe? I know cytotec is not safe for pregnant women even though it is given off-label to induce labor. But is it ok now since I'm not pregnant? My doctor wants me to insert 2 pills the night before having an IUD put in to soften the cervix. Any experience with this?
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
I would be very uncomfortable using cytotec in any way not approved by the FDA. I did a quick google search and it sounds like this is a very uncommon but not unheard of usage of it. The forums at mothering.com talks a little about it but they are very opposed to it.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
Is this off-label use? As far as I know, Cytotec is only approved to treat stomach ulcers. So anytime you use a drug for an off-label use, you are basically being your doctor's human guinea pig. In reality, your doctor has no idea how safe it is or what could happen because there have been no scientific studies on the drug being used this way.

Think about how long it sometimes take doctors and scientists to realize a tested, approved drug, being used as intended, is dangerous--Vioxx, HRT, etc. Sometimes patterns indicating a drug is dangerous don't appear until thousands and thousands of cases are studied--so doctors who have given something off-label to just their patients and never compiled data with other doctors to look at trends really have no way of knowing if the drug is safe.

I personally would ask about whether this drug has been tested and approved for this use. If not, ask about using a drug that has been tested and approved for softening the cervix. See what other options you have and weigh them. Go with what you are comfortable doing.

I'm going to disagree with the others. Yes, this is an off-label use for Cytotec, but the OB industry has been using pregnant women as guinea pigs with Cytotec for about 15+ years now, and they pretty much know that Cytotec is good at softening and slightly dilating cervix. In other words...it's already been tested and it works for this purpose. You aren't pregnant, and it will make IUD insertion a little more comfortable, so I would let them use it if I were in your shoes.
I would not. I've been hearing more and more fatal complications due to off label usage of cytotec.
Yes, this would be off-label use, but my doctor said they use it all the time. I'm still a little concerned, but not that much since I'm not pregnant anymore. I would also think it wouldn't be as bad inserted vaginally as if I was taking it orally since I wouldn't absorb as much into my body, but I could be totally off there.

I have to call the nurses anyway to get my antibiotics switched, so I will ask what alternatives (if any) are available. I would hate to take nothing and end up having a hard time with the IUD.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
My OB just waited until I had a period and then I had the IUD inserted since my cervix was open.
God doesn't give special kids to special parents. He takes ordinary, imperfect people, and gifts them with his greatest treasures. And therein, he creates special parents.

But can't you get pregnant before getting a period? I cannot get pregnant again!
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
But can't you get pregnant before getting a period? I cannot get pregnant again!
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Yes, you can - it's happened many a time (hello, Latin twins - me and my brother!) Getting pregnant right now is my worst nightmare, never mind when JJ was only a month.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Yes, this would be off-label use, but my doctor said they use it all the time. I'm still a little concerned, but not that much since I'm not pregnant anymore. I would also think it wouldn't be as bad inserted vaginally as if I was taking it orally since I wouldn't absorb as much into my body, but I could be totally off there.

I have to call the nurses anyway to get my antibiotics switched, so I will ask what alternatives (if any) are available. I would hate to take nothing and end up having a hard time with the IUD.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
Bailey, ask about other options and then decide. If you think it's the best option, then go for it.

I asked my doctor and she said they don't have other medications for this. My other option is not to take anything and risk the insertion being painful. I think I'll just go ahead and trust her... I've had nothing but good experience with this OB.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
I asked my doctor and she said they don't have other medications for this. My other option is not to take anything and risk the insertion being painful. I think I'll just go ahead and trust her... I've had nothing but good experience with this OB.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
I think what's important is you are making an informed decision. The thing that bothers me about Cytotec is when women consent to it without knowing about the off-label use because their doctor didn't tell them.

Good luck! I hope the Cytotec works and you do not have much pain.

Bailey, you definitely have to do what makes you feel the most comfortable but I wanted to tell you that I had my iud inserted with no medication. It hurt like hell for about two minutes and that was it. Most women mention mild discomfort and no real pain but I have a cervix that has never dilated despite two separate attempts with medication. Maybe talk to a few other women and you won't feel the need to have any extra medication.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
Bailey, you definitely have to do what makes you feel the most comfortable but I wanted to tell you that I had my iud inserted with no medication. It hurt like hell for about two minutes and that was it. Most women mention mild discomfort and no real pain but I have a cervix that has never dilated despite two separate attempts with medication. Maybe talk to a few other women and you won't feel the need to have any extra medication.
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Bailey, when is your appointment for insertion? I have a friend who just had one inserted. I can ask her about whether she used any drugs and what the pain was like. She has never had a baby though.

They just ordered the IUD and will call me for an appointment when it comes in. It should be in a week or two. I would appreciate your friend's feedback.
*Poster formerly known as Bailey422*

Here's all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid. ~ George Carlin
They just ordered the IUD and will call me for an appointment when it comes in. It should be in a week or two. I would appreciate your friend's feedback.
Originally Posted by Bailey422
I should definitely talk to her in the next week or two, so I will be sure to ask!

Disclaimer- I am merely a lurker here, my uterus has never been occupied by anyone in the past, nor is anyone occupying it at the moment.

Bailey, obviously the final call is yours, but you don't really need any special drugs to help with the IUD insertion. I took some Advil, but I was stuck in the waiting room for so long, I'm pretty sure it had worn off by the time the dr was able to see me. Yes, it hurt- like Dark Angel said, it hurt like hell. They had to sound my uterus first, to make sure it was large enough- I don't know if they do that if you've already had a child? That actually hurt more than the insertion. The insertion itself feels kind of like a super-intense cramp- that lasts for, literally, only a few seconds. I had some bad cramping after that and had to lie down for a few minutes. I think that is more common among childless women, since our uterus has never had anything inside it before.

I certainly don't want to scare you, or even convince you that you need this drug, I just want to prepare you. One thing I must add, many women who have delivered vaginally DO NOT feel much or any pain when they have an IUD inserted. I can't remember how you delivered your son, but that might be something to take into consideration.

Personally, if I'd been given the choice, I wouldn't have gone for something to soften the cervix, I woulda gone for a big ol' painkiller. Good luck whatever you choose!
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Last edited by Gemini13; 01-31-2008 at 12:35 PM.
I had a Mirena IUD put in after I had my baby in '04. They didn't give me anything to take beforehand. I think (but am not positive) that they sprayed some sort of numbing spray in there. I believe the whole procedure was pretty quick, but because of the discomfort seemed to last longer. Good luck with your decision.
Bailey, I asked my friend. She said they did not give her anything and forgot to tell her to take an aspirin beforehand. She said it was painful for her and she had a lot of cramping that day and a little bit of cramping the rest of the week.

Keep in mind though that this is someone who has never had a pregnancy/baby. She did tell me that it hurt but that she imagines someone getting one inserted postpartum would not find it nearly so bad, having recently been through labor.

I had an IUD put in with no drugs. A little painful but no big deal. Certainly nothing compared to labor or childbirth.
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