a group of medicinal substances that act selectively on the smooth musculature of the uterus and stimulate its contractive capacity.
The action of uterine stimulants varies. Some induce spasms of the musculature, the result of which is vasoconstriction. Others intensify uterine contractions without disrupting their rhythmicity and are used to intensify labor.
Obstetric and gynecological practice makes use of ergot and ergot alkaloid preparations (powder, extract, and ergotal—a mixture of alkaloid phosphates of ergot), ergometrine, methyl ergometrine, and ergotamine, which are used for early postpartal uterine hypotonia and atonia and associated uterine hemorrhage; for hemorrhage after cesarean section or abortion; and for menorrhagia (menstrual hemorrhage). Preparations of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland (pituitrin and oxytocin) are used to induce and intensify the contractile activity of the uterus during primary or secondary parturient asthenia, for overdue pregnancy, for early postpartal hypotonic hemorrhage, and for normalizing uterine involution after labor or abortion. Certain ganglion blocking agents (pachycarpine, dicolin, dimecolin, spherophysine) increase tonus and intensify uterine contractions; they are prescribed to accelerate labor, especially in women with nephropathy accompanied by hypertension. The uterine stimulants also include extracts, infusions, and tinctures of medicinal plants (shepherd’s purse, the leaves of the common barberry, peppery waterwort) and a number of preparations from various classes of compounds, such as cotarnine chloride (stypticin), Brevicollin, Vincametrin, Isoverin, Vetrazine, and Gravitol. In addition, the group includes agents that do not exert a direct effect on the smooth musculature of the uterus—in particular, those laxatives (castor oil) that induce reflex intensification of uterine contraction by stimulating the receptors of the colon.
P. A. SHAROV