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Common Drugs to Stop Labor


The following is a list of drugs that have been used in attempts to stop labor. Please note that only Ritodrine has been approved by the FDA for this purpose. The others are being used "off-label", based upon varying amounts of research of varying quality. For potential side effects, I would suggest that you ask a pharmamcist for a copy of the package insert. Pharmacists can be extremely helpful in situations where you have questions about drug use and interactions.

DRUGLabelled UseComments
Ethyl Alcohol
(Vodka, etc)
topical antiseptic
CNS depressant
rarely used anymore
causes intoxication
Beta Agonists 1
(Terbutaline, ritodrine, isoxuprine)
asthmamost commonly used
tocolytics in USA
Magnesium Sulfate 2magnesium deficiency also given for PIH
Nifedipine 3
(Procardia)
hypertension, angina, arrythmiaother Ca channel
blockers are also used
Indomethacin 4
(indocin)
inflammatory conditions
like gout, arthritis
also used to close
PDA in premies

Notes

1. These drugs increase heart rate, lower blood pressure, increase blood sugar, may cause cardiac arrythmias and contribute to the development of pulmonary edema, especially when given with steroids or high volume IV fluids.

2. Causes generalized muscle relaxation, is given IV in hospital setting, some unorthodox practitioners give po as epsom salts or milk of magnesia. Drops blood pressure, makes mom feel really weak and yuckky. May contribute to pulmonary edema especially when combined with othe drugs or lots of IV fluids. May cause cardiac arrythmias.

3. It is probably a little safer than ritodrine, but carries similar risks, including decreased placental perfusion.

4. This drug is a potent anti-prostaglandin, which probably accounts for its tocolytic effect. (Aspirin is also an anti-prostaglandin).


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