Kinds of Medicines 483
Medicines for heavy bleeding from the
vagina after birth or abortion
Ergometrine, oxytocin, and misoprostol are medicines that
cause contractions of the womb and its blood vessels. They are
important medicines to control heavy bleeding after childbirth.
Ergometrine is used to prevent or control severe
bleeding after the placenta has come out. Do not inject
ergometrine into the vein (IV). It should be injected
into a large muscle. Never give this medicine before
the baby is born or the placenta has come out! Do not
give this medicine to a woman with high blood pressure.
Oxytocin is used to help stop severe bleeding of the
mother after the baby is born. It is very rare for oxytocin to
be needed before the baby is born. For this purpose, it should
only be given in the vein by a doctor or trained birth attendant.
Using oxytocin to speed up labor or give strength to the mother
in labor can be dangerous to both mother and child.
Misoprostol was developed to stop bleeding from stomach
ulcers, but it is also used to stop bleeding after birth or abortion.
It is inexpensive and pills can be taken by mouth or inserted into
the rectum (see page 508).
Medicines for allergic reactions
A person can be allergic to medicines, foods, or things that are
breathed in or touched. Reactions may be mild—with itching, hives
or rash, or sneezing—or they can be moderate or severe. Some
reactions can worsen and bring on allergic shock. Severe reactions
and allergic shock can be life-threatening and must be treated.
In this book, we talk about how some medicines may cause allergic
reactions. Any medicine that causes an allergic reaction should be
stopped and never given again—even if the reaction was mild.
Depending on how strong the reaction is, allergic reactions are
treated with 1, 2, or 3 kinds of medicines:
1. Antihistamines, like diphenhydramine, hydroxyzine, or
promethazine. None of these medicines are good for
pregnant or breastfeeding women, but promethazine is the
least dangerous of them. Otherwise diphenhydramine is
usually the cheapest and most widely available.
2. Steroids, like dexamethasone or hydrocortisone.
Dexamethasone is a better choice for pregnant or
3. Epinephrine or adrenaline. These medicines are safe for
pregnant or breastfeeding women.
how to treat
and allergic shock
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012