Mifepristone and Misoprostol for Abortion
How It Works
Mifepristone and misoprostol use is a two-step method.
- First, your doctor gives you a dose of mifepristone tablets by mouth. Mifepristone causes the Reference placenta Opens New Window to separate from the Reference endometrium Opens New Window. It also softens the Reference cervix Opens New Window and increases uterine contractions to allow the uterine contents to pass. For reference, see a Reference picture of the reproductive organs Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
- Second, you take tablets of misoprostol by mouth or insert them vaginally, usually within 48 hours of mifepristone. Depending on the dose and how it is given, this could be as soon as 6 hours after the mifepristone.Reference 1 Some doctors may give misoprostol buccally (dissolved between the gums and cheek). Misoprostol causes uterine contractions so that your body passes the uterine contents. Many doctors allow their patients to take misoprostol at home and then the pregnancy ends (like a Reference miscarriage Opens New Window) at home.
A medical abortion usually requires at least two visits to your doctor over several weeks. For the first visit, one medicine is taken during the visit and a second medicine is given to be taken at home. The second visit is a follow-up appointment, usually scheduled about 2 weeks after the first visit, to make sure the pregnancy has ended and no complications are present. If a medical abortion is not successful, a surgical abortion is then done to complete the process because misoprostol can cause fetal abnormalities.
You can take pain medicine by mouth for this medical procedure.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: August 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Rebecca H. Allen, MD, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Reference Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology