Before taking RU-486 or any other medication, get information from a trusted source so that you understand how it works and the possible side effects. Women have trusted Your Choices with pregnancy decisions since 1991.
What is it?
RU-486 otherwise known as Mifeprex (or Mifepristone) is a steroid that causes an abortion when taken orally. It is actually a combination of two drugs – mifepristone and misoprostol – that cause early abortion. It should not be used if it has been more than 70 days since your last period. It is NOT the same as the Morning After Pill, commonly sold under the trade-names PlanB One-Step® or EllaOne®.
Possible Ways It May Affect Your Health:
- Side effects may include heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramping.
- In a surgical abortion, the patient does not see the products of conception.
- In a chemical abortion the fetus is usually expelled while you are alone. For some women this is very traumatic.
How Does It Work?
This drug breaks down the uterine lining and the growing fetus is shed from the uterus over a period of about 12 days. For this type of abortion, you may need as many as three appointments.
The approved Mifeprex dosage is:
- Day 1: 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
- 7 to 14 days: follow-up with the healthcare provider to make sure the abortion is complete and you’re no longer pregnant
Because of the risk of serious complications, Mifeprex is only available through a restricted program. This program requires abortion providers to warn patients about the risks and what to do if complications happen.
Women who have taken Mifeprex should seek immediate medical care for the below symptoms as they could be a sign of serious complications:
- 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) for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Post market Drug Safety Information for Patients and Providers (2016). Mifeprex (mifepristone) information. Retrieved from: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323
New England Journal of Medicine, April 30, 1998, Vol. 338 No. 18. Washington Post, February 4, 1997, Robin Heterman
Citizen: “Deadly Temptation” January 2000, by Matthewes-Green
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