When a doctor makes a mistake, it can result in a serious health problem or even death.

Off-label drug use in labor and delivery is incredibly dangerous

On Behalf of | May 17, 2018 | Uncategorized |

Seeking medical care during your pregnancy means that you entrust your doctor with not only your own life and well-being, but the health and future of your unborn baby. You trust your doctor to make the right decisions. These decisions could include knowing when to intervene in labor and when to allow your body to follow the natural progression of labor.

Sometimes, however, doctors make medical decisions for the wrong reasons. It is somewhat common for OB/GYN doctors to attempt to speed up labor, even if the mother and child are doing fine. Reducing labor times increases the number of patients they can deliver, leading to more profit. It can also let your doctor head home on time or even make a tee time for golf. When personal convenience outweighs patient safety and best practices, it puts both mother and child at risk.

Some doctors intervene in healthy labor unnecessarily

There are a host of available medications that can quicken the process of labor and delivery. Drugs like Pitocin (generic name oxytocin) can help increase the strength and frequency of contractions. Pain relievers can help mothers relax enough to focus on the task at hand. The idea is to help the mother through the labor process, with the end result of a happy and safe mother and child.

Sadly, some doctors turn to drugs that haven’t established a safety record for pregnant women. There are many medications that could impact pregnancy, but it’s hard to know if they are safe. In fact, many doctors may use certain drugs during labor despite a warning about potentially fatal complications.

Cytotec, also called misoprostol, is not safe for labor

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) looks at medical studies to determine the safety and efficacy of medications in the United States. They approved the use of Cytotec, also sold under the generic name misoprostol, for people with ulcers. However, they do not approve the use of the drug during pregnancy, labor or delivery.

In fact, the FDA labels the drug with a specific warning that doctors should not administer the drug to pregnant women due to the risk of uterine ruptures. Cytotec may help soften the cervix or induce contractions. However, it can also result in severe tearing of the uterus and increases the risk of maternal and infant death during labor. Women can experience severe blood loss that endangers both the mother and baby.

Even with quick medical responses to this tragic side effect, it is possible for mother, child or both to die as a result of this drug’s use in labor. Even if mother and child both survive, the mother could require a hysterectomy that prevents her from having a child again. Doctors who give this drug to women despite the known dangers printed on the label should be held accountable for that decision.