March 1999

Safety, efficacy and acceptability of mifepristone-misoprostol medical abortion in Vietnam

Ngoc NTN, Winikoff B, Clark S, Ellertson C, Am KN, Hieu DT, Elul B. Safety, efficacy and acceptability of mifepristone-misoprostol medical abortion in Vietnam. International Family Planning Perspectives. March 1999; 25(1):10-14,33 

Context: In developing countries where the demand for abortion services is high, such as Vietnam, the need for safe and effective alternatives to surgical abortion is great. Medical abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol may be an appropriate option in some of these countries.

Methods: In a comparative study of the safety, efficacy and acceptability of medical and surgical abortion, 393 women at two urban clinics chose between a mifepristone-misoprostol medical regimen and the standard surgical procedure offered in each clinic.

Results: Success rates for both methods were extremely high (96% for medical abortion and 99% for surgical abortion). Medical abortion patients reported many more side effects than women obtaining surgical procedures (most commonly, cramping, prolonged bleeding and nausea), but none of these side effects represented a serious medical risk. Nearly all women, regardless of the method they chose, were satisfied with their abortion experience. Additionally, among women who had previously undergone surgical abortion, those who selected medical abortion were more likely than those who chose surgery to say that their study abortion was more satisfactory than their earlier one (32% vs. 4%).

Conclusions: Mifepristone-misoprostol abortion is safe, effective and acceptable for urban Vietnamese women who are given a choice of methods. If similar results are observed for rural areas, the regimen could help meet the need for abortion services nationwide.