Self-administered misoprostol or placebo before intrauterine device insertion in nulliparous women: a randomized controlled trial

Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Aug;120(2 Pt 1):341-7. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31825d9ec9.


Objectives: To estimate the effects of self-administered misoprostol compared with placebo before intrauterine device (IUD) insertion in nulliparous women.

Method: Nulliparous women requesting either the copper T380A or levonorgestrel IUD were randomized to self-administer either 400 μg of misoprostol or placebo (vaginally or buccally) 3-4 hours before the IUD insertion appointment. The primary outcome was health care provider-perceived ease of insertion recorded on a visual analog scale (anchors: 0 extremely easy, 100 impossible). Patients completed questionnaires addressing pain using a validated visual analog scale (anchors: 0 none, 100 worst imaginable) before insertion, immediately postinsertion, and before clinic discharge.

Results: Of the 108 women enrolled in the study, 54 received misoprostol and 54 received placebo. There was no significant difference in perceived ease of insertion between the two groups (25.0 mm [standard error 3.5] compared with 27.4 mm [standard error 3.5], P=.64). Patients who received misoprostol before IUD insertion had significantly higher pain scores before placement (17.1 mm [standard error 3.5] compared with 4.7 mm [standard error 2.0], P=.003). Groups did not differ in perception of pain during IUD insertion (58.4 mm [standard error 3.3] compared with 56.9 mm [standard error 3.0], P=.74). There were two expulsions in the misoprostol group and none in the placebo group. Failed insertions, need for adjuvant pain medication, and need for cervical dilation or ultrasonographic guidance did not differ between the two groups.

Conclusion: Self-administered misoprostol before IUD insertion does not ease IUD insertion or reduce patient-perceived pain in nulliparous women. These data do not support the routine use of misoprostol before IUD insertion in nulliparous women.

Clinical trial registration:,, NCT00886834.

Level of evidence: I.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices*
  • Misoprostol / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage*
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Self Administration
  • Young Adult


  • Oxytocics
  • Misoprostol

Associated data