Misoprostol is the synthetic analog of natural prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) used to prevent gastric ulcers. It has also been used as an abortifacient for the past years. This medication treats postpartum hemorrhages as well, especially in poorer regions where access to health systems are precarious.
Cytotec is just the brand name given to Misoprostol, a medication known for its abortive properties.
Misoprostol is currently being legally used in several countries to perform a safe medical abortion. In Brazil, Misoprostol was first introduced in 1984 through the lab Searle (now Pfizer) and under the trade name Cytotec. Until 1991 it had no restrictions regarding its commercialization in pharmacies, since it had been approved for the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers.
After finding out the abortifacient properties of Misoprostol, the Brazilian Ministry of Health limited its sale only for individuals duly accompanied by a medical prescription.
Eventually, this medication ended up being banned for the general population. It remained like that since 1998.
The medication is registered in ANVISA (Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency) by the name Prostokos and it’s currently restricted to Hospital use only. Since it is not registered, Cytotec can not be commercialized in Brazil.
It is also worth pointing out that the advances and retrocessions concerning the use of Misoprostol in Brazil represent a unique case of this kind in the world, and also the subject of much discussion within a political, religious and medical context.
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