Ergometrine is used most commonly in the management of bleeding during labor and delivery and in the immediate wake of childbirth. It can also be administered as part of a test used to diagnose angina. This medication is typically placed by pharmaceutical regulators in the highest class of controlled substances. This limits access to the drug and sets clear standards for how the drug can be handled and used, out of concerns about the potential dangers of the medication.
This drug is an alkaloid related to ergot and alkaloids produced by members of the morning glory family. Its actions in the body are complex, but essentially it acts as a stimulant on the smooth muscles of the body, like the muscles found in the uterus and the walls of the blood vessels. Actions of ergometrine in the body can be complicated by interactions with other medications, and this must be considered when administering the medication, to avoid situations where people are put in danger of adverse drug reactions.
In women at risk of uterine bleeding, ergometrine may be administered during and after labor. The drug stimulates contractions of the uterine muscle, facilitating delivery and helping to clamp the uterus down after birth to stop bleeding. In addition, it reduces bloodflow to the uterus by constricting the blood vessels. This will reduce the risks of experiencing uncontrolled bleeding after delivery.
In medical testing for angina, ergometrine is administered to force the coronary artery to spasm. The reaction of the coronary artery is used in the diagnostic workup of the patient to determine if angina is present and to learn more about the nature of the angina. The type of angina involved is an important determining factor in how to handle the condition, as some forms are more risky than others.
Some common ergometrine side effects include dizziness, tingling in the extremities, and headache. An overdose of this drug can be dangerous and patients should report any abnormal sensations they experience while on the medication. If an adverse reaction develops, the drug can be stopped and the patient can be provided with supportive care while the body breaks down the medication.
Recreational use of ergometrine has been documented and the drug is usually kept carefully controlled to prevent people from accessing it and using it for recreational purposes. The primary concern with recreational users is the risk of a drug overdose in an uncontrolled environment.