Peer Reviewed



Introduction: The efficacy of misoprostol use for cervical priming before intrauterine device insertion (IUD) is controversial. This review aims to evaluate the evidence from published randomized controlled trials about the efficacy and safety of misoprostol before IUD insertion for pain relief in women with no previous vaginal delivery.

Materials and methods: We searched the following electronic databases: Web of Science, Cochrane CENTRAL, SCOPUS, and PubMed for relevant studies using the following Mesh terms: (misoprostol) AND (intrauterine device OR IUD). The primary outcome was the mean pain score during insertion. Secondary outcomes included the ease of insertion score, the rate of successful IUD insertion, the rate of IUD insertion failure, and the adverse effects.

Results: Ten randomized controlled trials (RCTs) (misoprostol: n=698 and placebo: n=689) were pooled in the analysis. The overall Standardized Mean Difference (SMD) of pain score did not favor either of the two groups (SMD= -0.09, 95%CI [-0.50, 0.33], p=0.007). Pooled results were highly heterogeneous (I2=93%, P<0.001). The total MD of the ease of insertion score favored the misoprostol group (MD= -1.36, 95% CI [-2.20, -0.52], p =0.002). The overall risk ratio (RR) of the number of failed insertions showed that misoprostol is associated with less IUD insertion failures compared to placebo (RR=0.55, 95% CI [0.38, 0.81], p=0.002). Finally, the overall risk showed that misoprostol is associated with more shivering, diarrhea and pelvic pain.

Conclusions: Misoprostol facilitates IUD insertion in women with no previous vaginal delivery, and is associated with 50% less chance for IUD insertion failure despite inducing mild adverse effects


Intrauterine device; misoprostol; vaginal delivery; contraception; efficacy

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Financial Disclosure

The authors report no conflict of interest.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.