By Liew Hanqing Pills appear to be quick fix for those here on work permits A DRUG used to treat stomach ulcers is being abused by foreign women in Singapore looking for quick, clandestine abortions. While it is not banned here, Cytotec is available only with a doctor’s prescription. It is, however, relatively easy to obtain on the black market. The drug causes uterine contractions and thinning of the cervix, which can induce abortions. The owner of a provision shop in Lucky Plaza told The Straits Times that women, mainly from the Philippines, regularly ask for the drug. She claimed her shop did not sell it, but added: “They know they can get it at Lucky Plaza, but they don’t know exactly which shop they can get it at. It’s an open secret that it’s easy to get here.” She said the drug was available at several provision shops and hair salons on the mall’s third floor. Misoprostol, sold under the brandname Cytotec among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat stomach ulcers, start labor, cause an abortion, and treat postpartum bleeding due to poor contraction of the uterus. Misoprostol is used for the prevention of NSAID-induced gastric ulcers. It acts upon gastric parietal cells, inhibiting the secretion of gastric acid by G-protein coupled receptor-mediated inhibition of adenylate cyclase, which leads to decreased intracellular cyclic AMP levels and decreased proton pump activity at the apical surface of the parietal cell. Because other classes of drugs, especially H2-receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors, are more effective for the treatment of acute peptic ulcers, misoprostol is only indicated for use by people who are both taking NSAIDs and are at high risk for NSAID-induced ulcers, including the elderly and people with ulcer complications. Misoprostol is sometimes coprescribed with NSAIDs to prevent their common adverse effect of gastric ulceration (e.g. However, even in the treatment of NSAID-induced ulcers, omeprazole proved to be at least as effective as misoprostol, but was significantly better tolerated, so misoprostol should not be considered a first-line treatment. Misoprostol-induced diarrhea and the need for multiple daily doses (typically four) are the main issues impairing compliance with therapy. It causes uterine contractions and the ripening (effacement or thinning) of the cervix. Medical abortion has the advantage of being less invasive, and more autonomous, self-directed, and discreet.
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