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Abortion Care Services
About the Abortion Pill
The Abortion Pill (also called Mifeprex, Mifepristone, or RU-486) provides women with a medical alternative to surgical abortion.
How the Abortion Pill Works
- Mifepristone, in conjunction with misoprostol (also called Cytotec) was approved for use as an abortifacient by the South Africa 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 spontaneous abortion when administered in early pregnancy and followed by a dose of misoprostol, a prostaglandin.
The Abortion Pill procedure involves the oral ingestion of mifepristone after ultrasound verification of a pregnancy ten weeks gestation or less. 24 to 36 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. 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 successful termination of the pregnancy.
Results and Side Effects
If the abortion does not occur with medication alone, a surgical abortion must be performed. This situation rarely occurs. The primary advantage of the abortion pill lies in the ability to end the pregnancy in the privacy of the patient's own home. Furthermore, the theoretical potential for surgical complications is lessened.
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 tissue is being expelled.
The abortion pill is limited to patients ten weeks pregnant or less, as verified by ultrasound. No sexual intercourse is allowed for two weeks after your abortion. The patient must agree to undergo a surgical abortion if the abortion is not completed with the pill alone.