Ergometrine (Molecule of the Month for April 2018)
Ergometrine is a medication used to cause contractions of the uterus to treat heavy vaginal bleeding after childbirth It can be used either by mouth, by injection into a muscle, or injection into a vein It begins working within 15 minutes when taken by mouth and is faster in onset when used by injection. Effects last between 45 and 180 minutes.
It was originally made from the rye ergot fungus but can also be made from lysergic acid. Ergometrine is regulated because it can be used to make lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The pharmacological properties of ergot were known and had been utilised by midwives for centuries, but were not thoroughly researched and publicised until the early 20th century.
It has a medical use in obstetrics to facilitate delivery of the placenta and to prevent bleeding after childbirth by causing smooth muscle tissue in the blood vessel walls to narrow, thereby reducing blood flow. It is usually combined with oxytocin (Syntocinon) as syntometrine. Possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, chest pain, palpitation, bradycardia, transient hypertension and other cardiac arrhythmias, dyspnea, rashes, and shock.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for April 2018 )
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