Prostaglandins: Uses, most common brand names, and safety information
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Prostaglandins are a group of hormone-like substances that different tissues in your body can produce, including your skin, stomach, and lungs. They are typically made in response to tissue damage or infection. Several types of prostaglandins play an important role in processes such as blood clotting, wound healing, blood flow, menstruation, stomach acid production, ovulation, labor induction, and your immune system’s inflammatory response. Prostaglandin analogs are used to treat a variety of medical conditions that include glaucoma, stomach ulcers, pulmonary hypertension, and erectile dysfunction. Here we will discuss in more depth the properties, brand names, pricing, and safety of prostaglandins.
The list below includes FDA-approved prostaglandins and their pricing:
List of prostaglandins
What are prostaglandins?
Prostaglandins are naturally made lipid compounds called eicosanoids that your body uses to regulate various bodily functions. There are four main prostaglandins your body produces, including prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), prostacyclin (PGI2), prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), and prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α). Prostaglandins can have different effects on different tissues, depending on the type of prostaglandin receptor it binds to. They can even cause opposite effects in some cases. For example, the same prostaglandin may stimulate a reaction in one tissue and be an inhibitor of the same reaction in a different tissue. When your body doesn’t make enough prostaglandins, your doctor may prescribe a prostaglandin analogue to treat a variety of conditions.
What is the mechanism of action of prostaglandins?
Cyclooxygenase enzymes are responsible for the synthesis of prostaglandins from the fatty acid arachidonic acid. Their effects will be dependent on the receptors to which they attach. Your body has numerous tissues that produce prostaglandins, usually in response to injury or inflammation. Some of the prostaglandin functions include constricting or dilating blood vessels, regulating immune cells such as macrophages and leukotrienes, promoting healing from injury, inhibition of GI secretions, causing uterine contractions, and reducing eye pressure.
What conditions are prostaglandins used to treat?
Prostaglandins are used to treat a variety of conditions, including:
- Prevention of arterial closure in newborns with congenital heart defects
- Inhibition of gastric acid secretion in the treatment of NSAID-induced gastrointestinal ulcers
- Treatment of pulmonary hypertension
- Treatment of postpartum hemorrhage
- Increase vascular blood flow to treat erectile dysfunction
- Relax smooth muscle to dilate your cervix and stimulate uterine contractions to induce labor or abortion
- Vasodilation of fingers and toes for the treatment of Raynaud disease
Are prostaglandins safe?
The use of prostaglandins is relatively safe and effective when taken as prescribed. Before beginning treatment with prostaglandins, tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following:
- A known allergic reaction to a prostaglandin analog or any of the inactive ingredients in its formulation
- Cardiovascular disease
- Sickle cell disease
- Blood cancers
- High platelet counts
- Pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant
- Liver disease
What are some common side effects of prostaglandins?
The adverse effects you experience from prostaglandins will depend on several factors, including the medication and dose. Some common side effects of prostaglandins seen in clinical trials when compared to placebo include:
- Eye color change
- Eyelash thickening
- Stinging, redness, and itching of the eye
- Blurry vision
- Injection site reactions
- Low blood pressure
- Stomach pain
- Prolonged or painful erection
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
Prostaglandins can sometimes cause more serious side effects, including:
- Premature labor
- Penile fibrosis
- Liver impairment
- Painful periods and menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
This is not a complete list of side effects, and we encourage you to consult with your healthcare professional for medical advice about any possible side effects.
What are some contraindications of prostaglandins?
Prostaglandins should be avoided if you:
- Have a known allergy to the medication or any inactive ingredients in the product
- Are pregnant (misoprostol)
- Have sickle cell disease, leukemia, polycythemia vera, or increased platelet counts (alprostadil)
- Heart failure (epoprostenol)
What are some drug interactions with prostaglandins?
The use of prostaglandins with certain foods or medications can affect how they work or increase the frequency and severity of side effects. Make sure your healthcare provider is aware of all the over-the-counter supplements and prescription medications you are taking.
What is the difference between prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)?
The main difference between these two is that PGE1 is an anti-inflammatory factor while PGE2 is a pro-inflammatory factor. PGE1 is derived from omega-6 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation. PGE2 is derived from lipids and acts as a pro-inflammatory factor to help induce labor, induce bleeding after delivery, and terminate a pregnancy.
Which foods and beverages increase prostaglandins?
Refined flour and sugar, processed vegetable oils (soybean, corn, sunflower, cottonseed, and grapeseed oils), fried foods, dairy products, processed meats, red meats, trans fats, and alcohol are considered inflammatory foods that cause an increased release of prostaglandins.
How can you lower prostaglandins?
There are several ways to lower prostaglandin production in your body. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen and ibuprofen inhibit the action of the cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) and reduce prostaglandin levels. You can also eat a high-fiber diet and take magnesium, zinc, omega-3s, and bromelain. Some other ways to naturally lower prostaglandin include getting enough sleep and exercise while avoiding stimulants, alcohol, and smoking.
How do prostaglandins cause period pain?
Before your period starts, the cells that form the lining of your uterus begin to break down and increase the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause vasoconstriction in the blood vessels in your uterus and uterine contractions, which can lead to painful cramps. Some prostaglandins enter your bloodstream and can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
What causes high levels of prostaglandins?
High levels of prostaglandins are produced in response to injury or infection and are associated with symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, pain, and fever. This is an important part of your body’s normal healing process.
How much do prostaglandins cost?
You can purchase prostaglandins for $49 per month from NiceRx if eligible for assistance. Prices at the pharmacy vary by location, strength, and quantity, as well as your insurance status.
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