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The Abortion Pill

We inform, you decide.

Mifeprex (RU-486 / Medical Abortion Pill)


Quick Facts

  • Gestational Age: within 10 weeks of last menstrual period
  • Cost: $350-$650


The FDA approved regimen 1 for Mifiprex (RU-486) is a two-visit process using two different drugs:

  1. Mifepristone is given orally during the first office visit (200 mg). Mifepristone blocks progesterone from sustaining the pregnancy, thereby ending the life of the baby.
  2. Misoprostol tablets are given orally (800 mcg) 48 hours later. The misoprostol will cause contractions to expel the baby’s remains. This does not take place at the medical office and may occur within a few hours or up to two weeks after taking misoprostol.
  3. A physical exam is given by the healthcare provider about 7-14 days later to ensure the abortion is complete and that there are no immediate complications.

Risks and Side Effects

The abortion pill is not advised for women who have anemia, bleeding disorders, liver or kidney disease, seizure disorder, acute inflammatory bowel disease, use an intrauterine device (IUD), or are unable to return for the follow-up visit.

  • Risk: unsuccessful abortion. The procedure is unsuccessful <3.2% of the time prior to 57 days, 6.5 % from 57-63 days and 7.2% from 63-70 days gestation. 2
  • Risk: medical emergency requiring an emergency room visit. Major adverse events requiring going to the emergency room occur for about 3.7% (about 1 in 25) of the patients between 47-63 days and 4.6% (about 1 in 20) of the patients between 64-70 days gestation. 3
  • Side Effects: Cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy bleeding, infection and in rare cases, death.

Fetal Development Weeks 4-8

The following describes some of the developmental steps of the baby during the time frame when a woman is eligible for a medication abortion.

  • Nerves, brain and spinal cord begin to develop
  • Heart begins to beat
  • Eyes, arms, legs, lungs, and stomach begin to form
  • Hands and feet are forming
  • All organs are present by week 8

Abortion Pill Reversal

There is a 50% chance of continuing a healthy pregnancy if therapy is started within 72 hours of taking mifepristone. See Abortion Pill Reversal for details.

Cindy P, BSN, RN

Medically Reviewed By:


1 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2016). Mifeprex Medication Guide. Retrieved June 2021 from

2 Mifeprex Label (2016), Table 4.

3 Winikoff, B., Dzuba, I.G., Chong, E., Goldberg, A.B., Lichtenberg, E.S., Ball, C., et al (2012). Extending outpatient medical abortion services through 70 days of gestational age. Obstet Gynecol; 120(5): 1070-1076.

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