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How Long Does It Take For Misoprostol To Dissolve (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 30 minutes

Misoprostol is a prostaglandin medication that is also commonly known as Cytotec or Misodel. It is used to prevent and cure several health issues. It is mostly used to induce labor, cause abortion, treat stomach and duodenal ulcers and treat postpartum bleeding caused because of poor contraction of the uterus.

Misoprostol is on the list of essential medicines as stated by World Health Organisation. It is a generic medication that was developed in 1973. The drug has several routes of administration such as it can be taken orally, under the tongue, or through vaginal administration.

How Long Does It Take For Misoprostol To Dissolve?

Misoprostol is most commonly used as an alternative to surgical abortions and is also called medical abortion. Medical abortions are more preferred by women as it is less invasive, discreet, and self-directed. Misoprostol is the most effective in the presence of other medications such as methotrexate or mifepristone.

Pregnancies of 11 or 12 weeks can be aborted easily by Misoprostol. In such a condition, it is recommended to place four 200-mcg tablets under the tongue or cheek with two tablets on each side of the mouth. Misoprostol takes about 30 minutes to dissolve in the mouth after which the remaining shall be swallowed with water.

After the first set of pills, one may experience cramps in the lower abdomen region suggesting the medication has started to work. The second set of pills also contain four 200-mcg pills which have to be taken between 24 to 48 hours of the consumption of the first set of pills. The second set of pills also require about 30 minutes to dissolve when administered orally.

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The embryo shall get out of the body within 3 hours of consumption of the second set of pills. In case, there is no sign of abortion, doctors recommend a third set of pills of the same composition in similar quantities. The pills again take only 30 minutes to dissolve completely.

Misoprostol can also be administered through the vagina. It is recommended to insert the first misoprostol tablet in a squatting position only after the bladder has been emptied. This step shall also be repeated immediately for the second pill after which one must lie down for 30 minutes for the pills to dissolve. It is a traditional way of abortion and is less preferred when compared to the oral administration method.

Misoprostol can also be used to abort pregnancies of 12 to 24 weeks. The effectiveness of the medication decreases with the number of weeks of pregnancies. In such conditions, only two 200-mcg tablets are used orally in the same manner under the tongue or cheek and it takes about 30 minutes to dissolve in the mouth.

In summary:

Route of Administration Time to Dissolve
Oral30 minutes
Vaginal30 minutes

Why Does It Take So Long For Misoprostol To Dissolve?

Misoprostol is most commonly used in a combination with mifepristone for medical abortion. Mifepristone is consumed first as it helps stop pregnancy by blocking a pregnancy hormone called progesterone. It hinders the growth of the embryo as it breaks down the uterine lining.

The second medication, misoprostol pushes out the dead embryo out of the vagina by inducing uterine contractions. Misoprostol binds specifically to the myometrial cells causing contractions that lead to the expulsion of tissues. The drug also causes ripening and dilation of the cervix because of which it is also used before the surgical abortion.

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It takes only about 30 minutes for misoprostol to dissolve in both oral and vaginal routes of administration, however, its effect can be observed after 3 to 4 hours in the form of heavy bleeding and cramping. There are other side effects of using misoprostol such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Fever

Conclusion

Misoprostol is a generic medication that is synthetically produced to treat several health conditions. It is most commonly used to medically abort pregnancy in a combination with other medicines such as mifepristone. The medicine can be consumed in two forms: oral and vaginal.

It takes Misoprostol only 30 minutes to get dissolved both when consumed orally and inserted in the vagina. It is consumed in two rounds after which one can experience heavy bleeding, stomach pain, and other associated consequences such as vomiting, fever, etc.

References

  1. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm200101043440107
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2760893/