Pilot study on the use of repeated doses of sublingual misoprostol in termination of pregnancy up to 12 weeks gestation: efficacy and acceptability

Hum Reprod. 2002 Mar;17(3):654-8. doi: 10.1093/humrep/17.3.654.


Background: A sublingual misoprostol-alone regimen was used in 50 women requesting medical abortion at up to 12 weeks gestation. The efficacy and acceptability of this regimen were studied.

Methods: The women were given 600 microg misoprostol sublingually every 3 h for a maximum of 5 doses.

Results: The overall complete abortion rate was 86% (95% confidence interval: 74-93). The mean number of doses of misoprostol required was 4.1 +/- 1.1. There was no significant change in haemoglobin concentration and the median duration of vaginal bleeding was 15 days (range: 7-56). Diarrhoea, fever and chills were the most common side-effects. The acceptability of this regimen of misoprostol was good: 97.7% of the women who had a complete abortion would choose this method again and 88.4% would recommend it to others. They preferred sublingual misoprostol as it is convenient to take, avoids the painful vaginal administration and gives more privacy during the abortion process.

Conclusion: This regimen of sublingual misoprostol is an effective and acceptable method of medical abortion. Randomized controlled trials are required to compare the efficacy of various misoprostol-alone regimens of medical abortion. Pharmacokinetic studies and clinical trials are needed to find out the most appropriate dose, dosing interval and route of administration of misoprostol.

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / adverse effects
  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / therapeutic use
  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Adult
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Misoprostol / administration & dosage*
  • Misoprostol / adverse effects
  • Misoprostol / therapeutic use
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pilot Projects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Misoprostol