Misoprostol (brand name: Cytotec) belongs to a kind of medicines called prostaglandin analogues.
Since its first marketing in 1985, Misoprostol has been approved in more than 85 countries.
Misoprostol is used:
To prevent development of stomach ulcers, which may sometimes be caused by arthritis medicines that are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
To treat acute ulcers in the stomach (gastric ulcers), or in the first part of the small intestine (duodenal ulcers)
To prevent bleeding in the stomach or upper intestine in hospital patients after surgery
Misoprostol protects the stomach lining from ulcerating effects of NSAIDs (such as aspirin and ibuprofen) and prevents stomach ulceration and related ulcer complications (such as ulcer bleeding, obstruction, and perforation).
Misoprostol is very similar to a group of substances called prostaglandins, which occur naturally in the stomach and other parts of the body. When the amount of these natural prostaglandins is lower than normal, there is a risk that ulcers may occur in the stomach or duodenum. This reduction in prostaglandins is often a side effect of NSAIDs. Misoprostol can replace prostaglandins and help to prevent ulcers, or help heal the ulcer if you already have one. If you are taking an NSAID, Misoprostol helps protect your stomach while you continue to receive the benefit of pain relief and reduction in joint swelling from your arthritis medicine.
Misoprostol makes your stomach produce less acid, and it helps your stomach protect itself against damage from acid and certain other substances, such as NSAIDs.