The Abortion Pill

The Abortion Pill (RU486) is commonly confused with the Morning After Pill. It is important to realize that these two medications work in different ways and serve different purposes.

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The Morning After Pill

The morning after pill is a high-dosed progesterone pill intended to be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. However, it may or may not prevent pregnancy depending on where you are in your cycle.

There are three ways it can work:

  • Prevent ovulation subsequently preventing fertilization
  • Affect the lining of your Fallopian tubes to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, therefore, preventing fertilization
  • Irritate the lining of your uterus making it difficult/harder for the fertilized embryo to implant in your uterus

RU486

What it is

  • The abortion pill (RU-486) is an artificial steroid that blocks progesterone, a hormone needed to continue a pregnancy, before it is released. Mifepristone is the generic name.  The brand names are Mifeprex or Early Option.
  • Generally, it is used in combination with Misoprostol (brand name Cytotec) a type of prostaglandin.

When it is Used

  • In March 2016, the FDA approved RU486 for usage within 10 weeks (70 days) after the first day of last menstrual period.  

How it works

  • Mifepristone(Mifeprex/Early Option) blocks the hormone, progesterone, causing the lining of the uterus to break down, making it unable to sustain the fetus.
  • Misoprostol(Cytotec), given two days after Mifepristone(Mifeprex/Early Option), causes cramping and significant bleeding. So then, the uterine lining and the fetus expel themselves.

Learn More
The abortion pill, also known as RU 486, is a chemical abortion method consisting of two different drugs that you take after confirming your gestational age. Mifepristone, the first of two pills, blocks the hormone progesterone that your body naturally produces. This thins the lining of the uterus and stops the growth of the fetus. The second pill, Misoprostol, is given anytime up to 48 hours after the first pill is administered. Please note that you should never receive the abortion pill from anyone other than a licensed medical professional or without a consultation. A pre-abortion appointment is advised.

For those eight weeks pregnant or less, the abortion pill is up to 98% effective. Women 8-9 weeks pregnant report it is effective 96% of the time, 93% for those 9-10 weeks pregnant and 87% for those 10-11 weeks pregnant. If you think the abortion pill was ineffective, please call Clarity or your primary care physician immediately. You can also refer to the table below for more details.

The abortion pill process requires a few steps:

  • You take the first pill called Mifepristone. This medicine causes the fetus to stop growing. Along with both medicines, it is not uncommon for your doctor or nurse to give you antibiotics to take to prevent infection.
  • Up to 48 hours later, you will take the second pill called Misoprostol. Your doctor or nurse should let you know how and when to take it. This medicine will cause cramping and bleeding in order to expel the fetus.
  • Up to 13% of women’s chemical abortions can fail. A follow-up appointment is important to rule out a failed or impartial abortion and that your body has stayed safe through the process. If you have second thoughts about your abortion, there is an abortion reversal pill available here.
  • Side effects include large blood clots up to the size of a lemon and can include visible parts of the fetus. You can expect a process similar to a miscarriage, or with even more bleeding, clots, and cramping pending how far along you are. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, feeling dizzy, headaches, or hot flashes
  • Women who are 8 weeks pregnant or less, it works about 94-98 out of 100 times.
  • Women who are 8-9 weeks pregnant, it works about 94-96 out of 100 times.
  • Women who are 9-10 weeks pregnant, it works about 91-93 out of 100 times.
  • Women who are 10-11 weeks pregnant, it works about 87 out of 100 times.
  • An ultrasound is absolutely necessary to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are, as every woman’s cycle and ovulation varies. Our pre-abortion appointment includes this at no cost to you!

Sources:
https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sex/how-do-you-know-if-the-abortion-pill-worked

https://www.healthline.com/health/abortion-pill#risks-and-complications

https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2020/10/medication-abortion-up-to-70-days-of-gestation

National statistics on abortion show that 10 percent of women undergoing induced abortion suffer from immediate medical complications, of which one-fifth were considered major. Since there are some serious side effects to the abortion pill, please discuss these and any other concerns with a medical professional before the abortion. In addition to the side effects listed above, other risks can include an incomplete or failed abortion (where the fetus is viable or remains in the womb which can cause serious infections), an undetected ectopic pregnancy (which can be dangerous and is a medical emergency), and blood clots remaining in the uterus.

On a psychological level, studies within the first few weeks after the abortion have found that between 40 and 60 percent of the women questioned reported negative reactions. And within eight weeks after their abortions, 55 percent expressed guilt, 44 percent complained of nervous disorders, 36 percent had experienced sleep disturbances, 31 percent had regrets about their decision, and 11 percent had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor. Common emotional side effects are regret, anger, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and depression

Sources:
https://www.healthline.com/health/abortion-pill#risks-and-complications

Many women who come into our clinic often seek abortion due to their financial situation or support. Our goal is to offer a safe, non-judgmental place for women to process their unique situations. Because each woman is unique and her situation is unique, we always recommend being educated on the help and assistance available to you before having a chemical abortion. We can help.

Do not take RU486/Mifepristone if you have:

  • Not had a menstrual cycle begin within 70 days (10 weeks).
  • An IUD. You must take it out before you take RU 486.
  • A provider that has previously told you that you have a pregnancy outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
  • Problems with your adrenal glands (chronic adrenal failure).Been taking a medicine to thin your blood.
  • A bleeding problem.
  • Been taking certain steroid medicines.
  • A prior engagement keeping you from returning for the follow-up visits.
  • Restricted access to emergency medical help in the 2 weeks after you take Mifeprex.
  • An allergy in relation to mifepristone, misoprostol, or medicines that contain misoprostol, such as Cytotec or Arthrotec.

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