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Study: Evidence-Based Medication Abortion Regimen Safe, Effective

Study: Evidence-Based Medication Abortion Regimen Safe, Effective

January 28, 2015 — A new study affirms the safety and efficacy of the medication abortion protocols commonly used in clinical practice, UPI reports.

Study Details, Findings

The study, published in Contraception, was conducted by physicians from Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The researchers analyzed data on about 13,000 women who received a medication abortion at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles health centers over five years (Benson, UPI, 1/26). The health centers used "an evidence-based alternative to the FDA-approved regimen," according to the study (Gatter et al., Contraception, 1/13). The FDA-approved dosage is higher than the evidence-based dosage typically used in practice (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/15/14).

The study involved pregnancies through 63 days estimated gestational age when the drugs were administered. The women first received 200 milligrams of mifepristone orally at the clinic. At home, 24 to 48 hours later, they buccally administered 800 micrograms of the second drug in the regimen, misoprostol (Contraception, 1/13). The women then reported their results to the researchers.

The study found that the evidence-based alternative was 97.7% effective in ending pregnancy, and that 0.01% of women who used the regimen developed an infection that necessitated hospitalization.


Study co-author Kelly Cleland, a researcher at the Woodrow Wilson School's Office of Population Research, explained, "The way a medication is administered often evolves after the FDA has first approved it for use based on new medical research and professional experience. This is called evidence-based medicine and is how aspirin came to be used to prevent heart attacks, for example."

She also said that the findings "build upon those from [her] 2013 study of more 230,000 women's experiences with medication abortion at Planned Parenthood health centers, which found the process is exceedingly safe and effective" (UPI, 1/26).