Skip to Content


Generic Name: dinoprostone topical (DYE no PROS tone TOP ik al)
Brand Name: Cervidil, Prepidil, Prostin E2

What is Prepidil?

Dinoprostone is a prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance that is naturally produced by tissues in the body.

Prepidil is used in a pregnant woman to relax the muscles of the cervix (opening of the uterus) in preparation for inducing labor at the end of a pregnancy.

Prepidil may be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

You should not be treated with this medicine if you are allergic to prostaglandins, or if you have active genital herpes with a vaginal lesion, placenta previa, or if your water has broken.

Be sure your doctor knows your entire pregnancy history, especially if you have ever had a C-section or major surgery on your uterus, if you have had a baby born in a breech position, or if you have had a difficult labor or delivery of a previous child.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with this medicine if you are allergic to prostaglandins, or if you have:

  • active genital herpes with a vaginal lesion;

  • placenta previa (the placenta is below the fetus in your uterus); or

  • if your water has broken.

Be sure your doctor knows your entire pregnancy history, especially:

  • if you have ever had a C-section or major surgery on your uterus;

  • if you have ever had a baby born in a breech position (not head-first); or

  • if you have ever had a difficult labor or delivery of a previous child.

To make sure dinoprostone is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • glaucoma;

  • asthma;

  • if you are 30 years or older; or

  • if your pregnancy is at full term (40 weeks).

Dinoprostone is not expected to be harmful to the unborn baby when used to induce labor.

How is dinoprostone topical given?

Dinoprostone is a gel or suppository that is placed directly onto the cervix through the vagina using a special applicator. A healthcare provider will give you this medication.

Dinoprostone is usually given while you are lying on your back. Your doctor may use a vaginal speculum to view your cervix. This will help your doctor determine how much of this medication to use.

You will need to remain lying down for at least 15 minutes unless your doctor tells you otherwise.

Your contractions and your baby's heartbeat will be constantly monitored after you are treated with dinoprostone. Your doctor will also check your cervix frequently to determine how much it has dilated.

If your uterus responds to dinoprostone, you may begin having regular uterine contractions within a few hours. You may also be given other medications to help stimulate your uterine contractions and make them more regular.

If your uterus does not respond to dinoprostone within 6 hours, your doctor may apply a second dose.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since dinoprostone is used when needed in a clinical setting, it does not have a daily dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medicine is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving Prepidil?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Prepidil side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if your contractions slow down or become uneven, or if you have:

  • intense pain between contractions;

  • sudden vaginal bleeding;

  • unexpected stomach pain;

  • chest pain;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding;

  • bleeding from a wound, surgical incision, or vein where an IV was placed; or

  • any bleeding that will not stop.

Common side effects may include:

  • slow heartbeats in the baby;

  • nausea, stomach pain;

  • feeling of warmth in the vaginal area;

  • back pain; or

  • fever.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Prepidil?

Other drugs may interact with dinoprostone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about Prepidil.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01.

Date modified: March 06, 2018
Last reviewed: December 27, 2017