Misoprostol versus ergometrine-oxytocin for preventing postpartum haemorrhage: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

J Evid Based Med. 2016 Nov;9(4):194-204 doi: 10.1111/jebm.12201.

To compare the effects of misoprostol versus ergometrine-oxytocin for postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) prevention, and provide important evidence to choose optimal agents for preventing PPH in developing countries.


The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, EMbase, and ClinicalTrails.gov were searched from inception to 1st January 2016. Two authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias of studies according to Cochrane Handbook5.1.0. Meta-analysis was performed using RevMan5.2.4 software.


A total of 4034 women from six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included. Meta-analyses showed that the PPH rate (7.6% vs. 4.2%, RR = 1.81, 95%CI (1.40, 2.35), P < 0.01), and the additional uterotonic therapy (19.2% vs. 10.5%, RR = 1.83, 95%CI (1.57, 2.14), P < 0.01) for misoprostol group were significantly higher than ergometrine-oxytocin group, respectively. But there was no significant difference of severe PPH rate between two groups (1.2% vs. 0.76%, RR = 1.55, 95%CI (0.78, 3.07), P = 0.21). The need for manual removal of placenta in misoprostol was only about one-third of ergometrine-oxytocin (0.5% vs. 1.4%, RR = 0.33, 95%CI (0.15, 0.76), P < 0.01).


Misoprostol can be used in the third stage of labor for preventing PPH where sterilized syringe and trained midwife were absent, and ergoetrine-oxytocin could be deemed as alternative agent in low-resource setting due to recognized effect. As a result of limited evidence about these uterotonic agents, the more high-quality RCTs are needed to determine the potentials and harms of various uterotonic agents for preventing PPH in developing countries.

KEYWORDS: Developing countries; ergometrine-oxytocin; misoprostol; postpartum haemorrhage; systematic review
MESH HEADINGS: Ergonovine; Female; Humans; Misoprostol; Oxytocics; Oxytocin; Postpartum Hemorrhage; Pregnancy; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Study Details
Study Design: Systematic Review
Language: eng
Credits: Bibliographic data from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine