Mifepristone (also known as RU 486) is used to cause an abortion during the early part of pregnancy. It is used up to week 10 of pregnancy (up to 70 days after the first day of your last menstrual period). Mifepristone blocks a natural substance (progesterone) that is needed for your pregnancy to continue. It is usually used together with another medicine called misoprostol. Mifepristone must not be used if you have a rare abnormal pregnancy that is outside the womb (ectopic pregnancy). It will not cause an abortion in this case. It may cause an ectopic pregnancy to rupture, resulting in very serious bleeding.
How to use mifepristone oral
Read the Medication Guide provided by your doctor before you start using mifepristone. Keep the guide to reread if needed. If you have any questions, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Read and sign the Patient Agreement form provided by your doctor. Tell your doctor if you do not understand how to use this medication or cannot follow the instructions. Mifepristone is available only from your doctor. It is not available from store pharmacies.
You must visit the doctor’s office at least 2 times to complete your treatment and important examinations. This treatment is only given under direct medical supervision in a doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital. Be sure to have clear instructions from your doctor regarding whom to call and what to do in case of an emergency.
Your doctor may want to do an ultrasound to make sure your pregnancy is less than 10 weeks and is not outside the womb (ectopic).
Take mifepristone by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually as a single dose. After taking mifepristone, your doctor should direct you to wait 24 to 48 hours before taking another medication (misoprostol) by mouth as a single dose. The medications may not work as well if you take misoprostol sooner than 24 hours after taking mifepristone or later than 48 hours after taking mifepristone. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Heavy vaginal bleeding does not mean that an abortion is complete.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Mifepristone is used in combination with misoprostol (Cytotec) to end an early pregnancy. Early pregnancy means it has been 70 days or less since your last menstrual period began. Mifepristone is in a class of medications called anti-progestational steroids. It works by blocking the activity of progesterone, a substance your body makes to help continue the pregnancy.
Mifepristone is also available as another product (Korlym), which is used to control hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in people with a certain type of Cushing’s Syndrome in which the body makes too much of the hormone cortisol. This monograph only gives information about mifepristone (Mifeprex), which is used alone or in combination with another medication to end an early pregnancy. If you are using mifepristone to control hyperglycemia caused by Cushing’s syndrome, read the monograph entitled mifepristone (Korlym) that has been written about this product.
How should this medicine be used?
Mifepristone comes as a tablet to take by mouth. You will take one tablet of mifepristone once on the first day. Within 24 to 48 hours after taking mifepristone, you will apply four tablets in a total of another medication called misoprostol buccally (between the gum and cheek) by placing two tablets in each cheek pouch for 30 minutes, then swallowing the remaining content with water or another liquid. Make sure that you are in an appropriate location when you take misoprostol because vaginal bleeding, cramps, nausea, and diarrhea usually begin within 2 to 24 hours after taking it but could begin within 2 hours. Vaginal bleeding or spotting usually lasts for 9 to 16 days but can last for 30 days or longer. You must go back to your doctor for an exam or ultrasound 7 to 14 days after taking mifepristone to confirm that the pregnancy has ended and to check the amount of bleeding. Take mifepristone exactly as directed.
Other uses for this medicine
Mifepristone is also sometimes used to end pregnancies when more than 70 days have passed since the woman’s last menstrual period; as an emergency contraceptive after unprotected sexual intercourse (‘morning-after pill’); to treat tumors of the brain, endometriosis (growth of uterus tissue outside the uterus), or fibroids (noncancerous tumors in the uterus); or to induce labor (to help start the birth process in a pregnant woman). Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.