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Back to Gynecology Articles

Wednesday January 16, 2003 10:25 PM GMT


Study published  by the Alan Guttmacher Institute shows a growing tendency towards the use of the abortion pill accompanied by a parallel decrease surgical abortion.

Mifepristone, or the abortion pill (Mifeprex?) as it is known, was approved by FDA in September 2000 as an option for first-trimester abortions. The drug can be used up to seven weeks after the beginning of a woman's last menstrual period. 

In all, more than 130,000 women in the United States have used the pill to obtain abortions since its approval. The research appears in the January/February issue of the Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health journal.

Mifepristone acts by binding to the progesterone receptors in the uterus. This leads to contraction of the uterus causing abortion of the fetus.

In April last year Danco Laboratories issued a letter to health care providers following several cases of ruptured ectopic pregnancy. The letter was to remind health care providers that Mifepristone was not to be used in ectopic pregnancy.

It has also been reported that there is a risk of serious systemic infection.  The rate of serious infection as a complication of pregnancy is 3.5 per 1000 pregnancies. Uterine infection occurs in 0.1-4.7% of first trimester surgical abortions and in 0.0-6.1% of medical abortions. In the past, it was most often associated with illegal abortions. It rarely occurs with pelvic surgery or even with otherwise normal childbirth.

A single heart attack occurred in a 21-year old. This is the only case of heart attack reported with Mifeprex and misoprostol use.

Article reviewed by:

Dr. Tamer Fouad, M.D.


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