Is RU-468 Safe?

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FREQUENT QUESTION #5: Is RU-486 Safe?

RU-486 (Mifepristone)/Mifeprex combined with Misoprotol Technique

When Used?
RU-486, also known as the “Abortion Pill” was approved for use in a pregnancy that is no older than 49 days old (7 weeks after the beginning of the last menstrual period).

Procedure Description: Week 1
Day1

Patient should have a pelvic examination, blood tests and a sonogram.

The sonogram will document the viability and gestational age of the pregnancy.

RU-486 is given to cause the destruction of the baby’s nutritional support, and eventually the baby itself. 60-80% of women will abort after using Mifepristone alone.

Day 3
Within 48 hours after receiving RU-486, Misoprotol is given vaginally or orally to start uterine contractions.

Up to 70% of women will abort within 4 hours of receiving misoprotol.

Week 2
Day 14 or 15
Patient will return for a sonogram.

Up to 98% of women will have completed the abortion after receiving both mifepristone and misoprotol.

If the abortion is not complete, she will need a surgical abortion (D&C).

Any Complications or Side Effects?
May need a surgical abortion
Incomplete abortions occur in about 2% of the women and continued pregnancy in about 1%
Bleeding

Sometimes, a woman may have excessive bleeding or hemorrhaging that requires surgical intervention (<1%) with rarely needed blood transfusions

Nausea, Vomiting and Diarrhea

These symptoms may require medications to stop vomiting and diarrhea.

Tubal Pregnancy
There is a possibility of maternal death in the case of an undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.
Sources:
Hatcher RA, Nelson AL, Zieman M et al. A Pocket Guide to Managing Contraception.
Tiger, Georgia: Bridging the Gap Foundation, 2001
.

HHS News. Department of Health and Human Services. September 28, 2000.

New England Journal of Medicine, 338: 18. April 30, 1998.

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