MEDICATION ABORTION

WHAT IS THE ABORTION PILL?

The Abortion Pill (also called medication abortion, Mifeprex, Mifepristone, or RU-486) provides women with a medical alternative to surgical abortion.

  • Mifepristone, in conjunction with misoprostol (also called Cytotec) was approved for use as an abortifacient by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 28, 2000.
  • This antiprogesterone drug blocks receptors of progesterone, a key hormone in the establishment and maintenance of human pregnancy.
  • Mifepristone induces abortion when administered in early pregnancy and followed by a dose of misoprostol, a prostaglandin.

HOW DOES THE ABORTION PILL WORK?

The Abortion Pill procedure involves the oral ingestion of mifepristone after ultrasound verification of a pregnancy ten weeks gestation or less. 24 to 48 hours later, misoprostol is inserted into the cheeks, held in place for 30 minutes, and then swallowed with water. In most cases, a miscarriage occurs within 24 hours.

If bleeding does not occur after 24 hours, the misoprostol insertion is repeated or a surgical procedure can be performed if you prefer. Usually bleeding is like a spontaneous miscarriage and bleeding or spotting may occur for up to two weeks or longer. An ultrasound will be used to verify the completed abortion.

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS AND SIDE EFFECTS OF THE ABORTION PILL?

The abortion pill is limited to patients ten weeks pregnant or less, as verified by ultrasound. If the abortion does not occur with medication alone, a surgical abortion must be performed. This situation rarely occurs, but the patient must agree to undergo a surgical abortion if the abortion is not completed with the medication alone.

The primary advantage of the abortion pill lies in the ability to end the pregnancy in the privacy of the patient’s own home. Side effects of mifepristone and misoprostol can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy vaginal bleeding, headache, dizziness, backache and fatigue. Occasionally, the cramping may become quite severe, particularly when the pregnancy tissue is being expelled.

No sexual intercourse, tampon use, or douching is allowed for two weeks after your abortion.

IS THE ABORTION PILL SAFE?

Mifepristone is as safe as a surgical abortion for most women. The medication abortion is a completely noninvasive procedure and does not require sedation or a local anesthetic. However, as with surgical abortion, risk of hemorrhage does exist. In rare cases, the incomplete passage of tissue requires a surgical procedure. If you develop heavy vaginal bleeding soaking two pads in an hour for more than an hour, please call us immediately.

Serious infection can occur in about 1 per 1,000 women and death from infection occurs in less than 1 per 100,000 women. If you develop a flu-like condition including sluggishness, weakness or muscle aches with or without fever, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol (Cytotec), it is essential that you call us immediately.

You can help prevent infection by taking your antibiotics as directed and by avoiding tampon use, sexual activity, douching, or placing anything in the vagina for two full weeks after the abortion pill process.  Please contact us immediately if you have any signs of an allergic reaction or have other abnormal reactions to your medications during the abortion pill procedure.

IS THE ABORTION PILL EFFECTIVE?

Approximately 1.75 million women in the U.S. and millions more worldwide have chosen the Abortion Pill. It is effective approximately 93-97% of the time. This means, for every 100 woman who use the abortion pill between 3 and 7 women may need followup medications or surgical procedures.