RU486 goes by many names as noted above. It gives women the opportunity to have a termination performed as early as a week prior to missing her period up to 9 weeks from her last menstrual period. In the U.K., RU486 and Misoprostol are used up to 13 to 14 weeks pregnant when extensive studies showed that it was safe and efficient to use. It has been found to not only prevent growth of uterine fibroids, but also reduce their size. It is effective in the treatment of endometriosis, cystic disease of breast tissue, prostate cancer, certain brain cancers, reducing severe depression and prevents pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It is FDA approved in the United States at this time for medical abortions only.
RU486 is an antiprogestin medication that was initially studied in France. Progesterone is the hormone required to maintain early and full term pregnancy. A sudden drop in progesterone leads to an increase in intrauterine pressure and uterine contractions which can lead to miscarriages and labor. RU486 works by blocking the hormone progesterone in the uterus (womb) that causes loss of the blood vessel supply to the pregnancy which in turn causes the lining of the uterus to begin to shed and increases the intra-uterine pressure that results in uterine contraction. There are local changes to the cervix that can occur causing it to begin to open and become soft. This softening and dilation (opening) of the cervix is called priming the cervix. This in itself can lead to a 2 to 3% chance of vaginal bleeding and a 1% chance of miscarriage. Misoprostol is the second medication that is generally needed to end the pregnancy.
The combination of RU486 and Misoprostol is 98% to 99% effective in causing termination of pregnancy. It is nearly 100% effective for patients who are less than 6 weeks from their last menstrual period. Women who do not want surgery and want their abortion experience to be more private and have the support of spouse, family member, or friend, find this method to be most comfortable for their needs.
RU486 is extremely safe and effective. It has been used in Europe since the early 80’s. The contraindications to the use of RU86 itself are adrenal failure, prolonged use of corticosteroids, or allergy to RU486. Please look under general contraindications to having the medical abortion procedure performed.
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3 to 24 Weeks
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