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What is the Abortion Pill?
The abortion pill is a (chemical) medical abortion that is also known as RU-486. This type of abortion uses two drugs – Mifeprex™(mifepristone) and Misoprostol. Mifeprex™ blocks the progesterone hormone which is needed for pregnancy to continue. When used together with Misoprostol, it will end an early pregnancy (70 days or less since the first day of the last menstrual period or 10 wks LMP).
How is it taken? The FDA has approved a dosing regimen:
- On Day One: 200 mg of Mifeprex™ taken by mouth
- 24 to 48 hours after taking Mifeprex™: 800 mcg of misoprostol taken buccally (in the cheek pouch), at a location appropriate for the patient
- About seven to fourteen days after taking Mifeprex™: follow-up with the healthcare provided
The documented side effects of the abortion pill include abdominal pain, severe cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, fever and chills.
Risks include seeing embryonic parts expelled, possible life-threatening infection known as sepsis (severe systemic infection), some fail to abort (which may require an additional surgical abortion procedure to complete the termination), undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy, possible hemorrhaging.
Information is lacking about the long-term mental health effects of chemical abortion, particularly, how women feel about giving themselves an abortion, and seeing fetal parts expelled.
According to the FDA, some women should not take Mifeprex™. A woman should not take Mifeprex™ if it has been more than 70 days since the first day of her last menstrual period, or if she:
- has an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside of the uterus)
- has problems with the adrenal glands (the glands near the kidneys)
- is currently being treated with long-term corticosteroid therapy (medications)
- has had an allergic reaction to mifepristone, misoprostol or similar drugs
- has bleeding problems or is taking anticoagulant (blood thinning) drug products
- has inherited porphyria
- has an intrauterine device (IUD) in place (it must be removed before taking Mifeprex™)
Women who have taken Mifeprex™ should follow their healthcare provider’s instructions including the associated risks and complications that can occur such as:
- Sustained fever, severe abdominal pain, prolonged heavy bleeding, or fainting.
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, or general malaise (“feeling sick,” including weakness, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, with or without fever)
Though not as common, other medical abortions include methotrexate, misoprostol, or lethal injections for late-term abortions. Each comes with their own procedures and risks.
Before taking the Abortion Pill or any other medication, get information from a trusted source so that you understand how it works and the possible side effects.