March 2000

Misoprostol alone: a new method of medical abortion?

Blanchard K, Winikoff B, Coyaji K, Ngoc NTN. Misoprostol alone: a new method of medical abortion? Journal of the American Medical Women's Association. March 2000; 55(supplement 3):189-190.

Misoprostol shows promise for early termination of pregnancy. The drug is widely available, inexpensive, and easy to administer. Current evidence on the efficacy of potential regimens for early abortion, though, is hard to decipher and often contradictory. Research on a safe, effective, acceptable regimen of misoprostol alone for early abortion is underway. Available data show a wide range in efficacy of various regimens, and additional research is needed to understand this variability. A framework for additional research on misoprostol alone for medical abortion is presented with a focus on the need to evaluate benefits and risks of new regimens in the context of women's options for termination of pregnancy. We discuss the potential usefulness of a regimen with less efficacy than approved medical abortifacients. Research is needed as well on women's ability to self-diagnose incomplete abortion or ongoing pregnancy and the potential for misoprostol to be used as treatment for incomplete abortion in order to evaluate the benefits and risks of misoprostol-alone regimens.