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What is the "abortion pill"?

 

Also known as mifepristone, mifeprex, RU486, or medication abortion, the abortion pill is an FDA-approved medication which results in abortion.  In most cases, the abortion pill ends pregnancy safely and privately in the comfort of your own home. 

 

 

How does it work?

 

Mifepristone, taken orally, blocks the action of the pregnancy hormone progesterone. This causes the pregnancy to detach from the uterine wall and stop growing.  Misoprostol, a prostaglandin medication, is also used to cause uterine cramps which expel blood and the pregnancy tissue from the uterus.

 

 

What to expect

bulletAbortion using the abortion pill requires at least two visits to our office.  On the first visit, an ultrasound with a vaginal probe confirms the size of your pregnancy.  After reviewing your medical history and answering your questions, we will give you a pill of mifepristone to take in the office.  We will give you a second medication, misoprostol, to take home with you.  You need to wait at least 24 hours to use the second medicine.  You will insert these tablets into your vagina, or place them between your cheek and your gum, where they will be absorbed into your bloodstream.  This will cause your uterus to contract, and you will have bleeding and cramping. 
bulletYou should know that although the abortion pill is highly effective, about 2% of the time it fails to end a pregnancy.  Since it may cause defects in the pregnancy a woman who chooses to use the abortion pill must be willing to have an aspiration procedure if needed.

It would be provided without additional cost.

bulletOn average, women may expect to have bleeding for 9-16 days, and spotting is common for up to a month. Women may pass blood clots, ranging in size.  Some women may see whitish tissue.  If during the abortion you soak more than 4 maxipads within 2 hours, you should call our emergency number.

 

Advantages of the abortion pill

bulletUse of the abortion pill usually does not require the use of surgical instruments, which  many women prefer to avoid
bulletAnesthesia is not required. You will be given local numbing medicine in the cervix and oral medicine for cramps, but you will be awake for the procedure.
bulletSuccess rate is high. 
bulletSome women feel more comfortable with this method because it resembles a "natural miscarriage" and may be used very early in pregnancy. 
 

Possible side effects of the abortion pill

Symptoms such as pain, cramping and vaginal bleeding normally result from the abortion

process itself and are therefore expected with a medical abortion. You will be given pain medicine to help you with the discomfort.  Additional side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, or fever.  Complications are rare, but you should be aware that they may include infection and in rare cases excessive vaginal bleeding requiring transfusion.

What is the difference between emergency contraception pills and the abortion pill?

Many people are confused about the difference between emergency contraception and the abortion pill.  Most basically, emergency contraception helps prevent pregnancy, while theabortion pill terminates pregnancy.  For a complete comparison between these two medications, please see our What is the Difference? page.

For more information, you may also wish to visit the pharmaceutical company website for mifeprex at http://www.earlyoptionpill.com/ .  Please note the protocol we use is slightly different than the one described in company literature.  These changes are widely used to  improve the effectiveness and  convenience of medication abortion.

 

What are my other options?

You may want to read about the aspiration procedure or call our office to set up an

appointment to discuss your options.  Our Early Abortion Options page also provides a very detailed comparison of the abortion pill and aspiration abortion.

 

 

 
 

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