Dinoprostone (Vaginal)


Women that are pre-labor and require that their cervix open more to ensure a smooth delivery process are sometimes administered dinoprostone to thin and dilate the cervix or to force the uterus to contract as it does during the birthing process. This medication can also be used to terminate a pregnancy. Dinoprostone is administered directly into the vagina via one of the following delivery methods:

  • Extended Release Insert
  • Tampon
  • Gel/Jelly
  • Suppository

In some cases, this medication may be given to a woman following childbirth as it is naturally occurring in breast milk, and has been shown to benefit the GI tract of the infant.

Conditions Treated

  • Used to Begin the Labor Process
  • Promotes Contractions to Speed Childbirth
  • Pregnancy Termination

Type of Medicine

  • Prostaglandin
  • Uterine Stimulant

Side Effects

Dinoprostone can cause unwanted side effects, some of which will require immediate medical attention. If you experience any of the symptoms listed below, you will need to inform your doctor or nurse as soon as possible:

Less Likely and Rare:

  • Fast or slow heartbeat
  • Trouble in breathing
  • Increased pain of the uterus
  • Weak or absent pulse in arms or legs
  • Facial swelling or that of the interior nose, and eye area
  • Hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pressing or painful feeling in chest
  • Chest Tightness
  • Pale, cool, unevenly colored skin of the extremities
  • Wheezing

There are other common side effects that are typically a temporary reaction of the body as it adjusts to the medication. This grouping of symptoms will likely dissipate on their own after a short period of time. If you are concerned or troubled by any side effects, it is always best practice to consult with your doctor or another member of your healthcare team.

More Likely:

  • Abdominal or stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Less Likely, Rare:

  • Chills or shivering
  • Headaches
  • Flushing
  • Tender or mildly bloated abdomen or stomach
  • Swelling of the genital area or vulva
  • Constipation


Once the dosage of dinoprostone is administered to you, it will be required that you lie down for a period of time ranging from 10 minutes to two hours to allow the drug to be absorbed into your system. The wide range in the time requirement is a factor of the different purposes for which dinoprostone is taken.

This drug should never be self-administered and should only be given in a medical environment such as a hospital or clinic. Be sure to always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor or medical team when you are being treated with this drug.

If you are administered the uterine gel in order to widen or thin the walls of the cervix prior to the beginning of labor, you will likely be given dinoprostone following these dosage guidelines:

The doctor will likely administer 0.5 milligrams of dinoprostone that is applied to the canal of the cervix; following insertion you will be instructed to rest on your back for a period of 10 to 30 minutes to ensure its absorption.

Vaginal gel dosage applied in order for uterine contractions to cause labor:

The doctor will insert one milligram of dinoprostone into the vagina. You will be advised to lie on your back for a period no less than a half hour following insertion. If necessary, your doctor will administer another dose of 1mg to 2 mg after six hours from receiving the initial dose of dinoprostone.

Suppositories Used in the Termination of a Pregnancy:

The doctor will insert a suppository including 20 milligrams of the medication into your vagina during a period of three to five hours as necessary. Following insertion, you will be directed to lie on your back for no less than 10 minutes.

Application Used to Widen and Thing the Cervix Prior to Labor:

The doctor will insert 10 milligrams into your vagina. You should stay lying on your back for at least two hours after it has been inserted.

Major Drug Interactions:

While there are no major drugs whose use will cause significant side effects when used concurrently with dinoprostone, it is important for patients to advise their doctors and medical team of the medications that they are taking. Inform your doctor and medical team of all medications that you are currently taking, including both prescription and non-prescription drugs. Your doctor should also be aware of any herbal remedies or vitamin and mineral supplements that you are using.

Complications Due to Other Medical Conditions:

If you suffer from any of the medical conditions that are listed below, it is important that you notify your doctor of your affliction by such ailments as well as any and all medications that you are taking for treatment.

Anemia - because dinoprostone is used to start or prolong labor contractions, it will cause bleeding in the uterus. This excessive bleeding can have a harmful effect and even require a blood transfusion.

A history of problems during delivery can be exacerbated due to the stimulation that causes the uterus to contract. Patients that have undergone previous uterine surgery should inform their physicians of this medical history in a comprehensive manner prior to being administered dinoprostone.

Patients with a history of lung disease may experience additional problems when the drug caused the uterus to contract which can also cause the blood vessels, especially those located in the lungs, to narrow which can create further issues in patients that suffer from lung disease or have asthma.

Glaucoma patients do need to be aware that there have been rare instances where the drug has caused the pupils to constrict when such medications are used.

Unusual vaginal bleeding can occur with the use of dinoprostone, and patients that have experienced unusual vaginal bleeding in previous circumstances should be aware that this condition can be exacerbated due to the stimulation that causes the uterus to contract.

Patients that have experienced high or low blood pressure should discuss their history of these two conditions with their doctor prior to the use of dinoprostone. The changes that can occur with your heart function or blood pressure when administered dinoprostone can cause heart attacks in very rare cases. If you also have a history of heart or blood vessel conditions or disease, be sure to discuss this information with your doctor prior to taking dinoprostone.

If you have experienced any prior kidney or liver diseases, be sure to discuss this medical history with your doctor prior to being administered dinoprostone. If you have these conditions, it may be difficult for your body to excrete the medication from your system in a timely manner. The drug may remain effective for a longer than usual amount of time due to this fact which can increase the likelihood of some side effects to occur.

Epilepsy can be an issue as the dinoprostone causes the uterus to contract, which has, in very limited circumstances, has also triggered the occurrence of epileptic seizures.


This drug should never be self-administered and will be given in a hospital or clinic setting in order to induce labor or for the termination of a pregnancy.

This drug can be given during the first few days of nursing as it does occur naturally in breast milk. The additional dosage has been proven helpful to the infant's GI tract. Again, this will occur in the hospital and it is highly unlikely that a woman would be prescribed this drug following discharge.

It is important that your doctor and the entire medical team are aware of all allergies from which you may suffer. This includes allergic reactions to food, pets, dust, and pollen as well as medication. When discussing allergies to drugs and medications be sure that you are comprehensive with your information and include all medications: prescription, non-prescription, herbal remedies, vitamin supplements, and mineral supplements. There are a number of allergies to herbal supplements that can impact the patient's reaction to other drugs as well.

This drug should only be administered to prompt or prolong labor and should not be taken by pregnant women in any other situations. If the drug is being utilized to terminate a pregnancy, it is important that you receive proper medical care both during the procedure and as a follow-up. The drug is not harmful when used by nursing women as this enzyme occurs naturally in breast milk.

There are limited studies on the effects of this medication on older patients as it used primarily on women who are of childbearing age.


Dinoprostone is only administered in a hospital or clinic setting, and therefore there are no storage requirements or guidelines that are applicable to patients taking this medication.


Women that are in the pre-labor stage of childbirth and require that their cervix open more to ensure a smooth delivery process are sometimes administered dinoprostone to thin and dilate the cervix or to force the uterus to contract as it does during the birthing process. This medication can also be used to terminate a pregnancy.

There are a number of medical conditions that can increase the risk of complications or unwanted side effects occurring. If you have any of the listed medical conditions or history, be sure to inform your physician and medical team of such instances in a comprehensive manner prior to taking dinoprostone for any reason or in any amount.