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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Indomethacin for Slowing Preterm Labor
Indomethacin is sometimes used as a
tocolytic medicine to prolong pregnancy by slowing
preterm uterine contractions.
Indomethacin is given through a vein
(intravenously), by mouth as capsules or liquid
(orally), or in the rectum (anal suppository).
Indomethacin is a nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that blocks the production of certain substances
called prostaglandins, which contribute to uterine contractions.
Indomethacin is used only:
Indomethacin can be used to treat preterm labor
Indomethacin can be effective in
delaying preterm labor.1 More
research is needed before its harms and benefits are fully known.
Indomethacin appears to have fewer side
effects on the mother but potentially more serious effects on the fetus than
other tocolytic medicines used to treat preterm labor. But fetal side effects
are very unlikely when treatment lasts less than 7 days. Indomethacin may
Maternal side effects are very rare. They include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Haas DM (2011). Preterm birth, search date June 2010.
BMJ Clinical Evidence. Available online:
January 8, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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