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If it has been seven weeks or less since your last menstrual period and you want to terminate your pregnancy, a healthcare provider may prescribe Mifeprex. This medicine works by blocking the action of a naturally occurring hormone, causing the lining of the uterus to become soft and break down. Mifeprex can also be used for off-label reasons, such as treating uterine fibroids or ovarian cancer.

What Is Mifeprex Used For?

Mifeprex® (mifepristone) is a prescription medication approved to end an early pregnancy. An early pregnancy means it has been 49 days (7 weeks) or less since your last menstrual period. Mifeprex is sometimes called "the abortion pill." When it was being developed, it was referred to as RU-486. However, Mifeprex is not the same as the "morning after pill" (Plan B®).
Mifeprex is taken orally (by mouth) in a healthcare setting, such as a healthcare provider's office or clinic. This makes it a convenient option for women who prefer to try to avoid a surgical abortion. If Mifeprex does not successfully end the pregnancy, another medicine, misoprostol (Cytotec®), is taken by mouth two days later.
Although Mifeprex usually ends a pregnancy when taken as directed, you should know that the medication is not always successful. Therefore, you may still need a surgical procedure to end your pregnancy. In studies, about 5 percent to 8 percent of women needed a surgical procedure to end their pregnancy or to stop excessive bleeding after taking Mifeprex.

How Does It Work?

Mifeprex works by blocking the action of progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone that prepares the lining of the uterus for a fertilized egg and is necessary for pregnancy to continue. When Mifeprex blocks progesterone, the lining of the uterus softens and breaks down, ending the pregnancy.
If Mifeprex does not cause an abortion alone, misoprostol is given two days later. Misoprostol is a type of prostaglandin, a hormone-like substance found naturally in the body. It causes the uterus to contract and push out the products of conception.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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