BACKGROUND: Advance community distribution of misoprostol for preventing or treating postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) has become an attractive strategy to expand uterotonic coverage to places where conventional uterotonic use is not feasible. However, the value and safety of this strategy remain contentious.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness and safety of a strategy of advance misoprostol distribution for PPH prevention and treatment in non-facility births.
SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (5 October 2011). We did not apply any language restrictions.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of advance misoprostol distribution to lay health workers or pregnant women compared with usual care for PPH prevention or treatment in non-facility births. We excluded studies without any form of random design.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently assessed trial eligibility for inclusion.
MAIN RESULTS: The search strategies identified three studies. None of the studies met the inclusion criteria.
AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence from randomised or quasi-randomised trials on the benefits or risks of a strategy of advance misoprostol distribution for PPH prevention or treatment in non-facility births. In view of the increasing interest to scale up this strategy, there is an urgent need for large and well-designed randomised trials to evaluate its comparative benefits and risks.
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Access the abstract at Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15.