Comparison of abortions induced by methotrexate or mifepristone followed by misoprostol

Obstet Gynecol. 2002 May;99(5 Pt 1):813-9. doi: 10.1016/s0029-7844(02)01944-0.


Objective: To compare the effectiveness, side effects, and acceptability of medical abortions induced by methotrexate and misoprostol with abortions induced by mifepristone and misoprostol.

Methods: This was a multicenter, randomized, nonblinded, controlled trial comparing 50 mg/m(2) of methotrexate followed 4-6 days later by 800 microgram of vaginal misoprostol with 600 mg of oral mifepristone followed 36-48 hours by 400 microgram of oral misoprostol.

Results: There were 518 women in the methotrexate group and 524 women in the mifepristone group. In the methotrexate group, 21 women required suction curretage, two for continuing pregnancy, eight because of physician request (usually for excessive bleeding), and 11 because of patient request. In the mifepristone group, 22 women needed surgical termination, 17 because of physician request, and five because of patient request. By day 8, only 386 (74.5%) in the methotrexate group had completed the abortion compared with 474 (90.5%) in the mifepristone group, and the mean number of days from beginning to completion was 7.1 for methotrexate and 3.3 for mifepristone (P </=.001). There were no differences in complications, and side effects were similar. Acceptance was slightly higher with mifepristone (88.0%) than with methotrexate (83.2%).

Conclusion: Abortions induced with mifepristone completed faster than those induced with methotrexate, but the overall success rates, side effects, and complications were similar. Acceptance rates were slightly higher with mifepristone than methotrexate (P =.03).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / adverse effects
  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal / adverse effects
  • Abortion, Induced / methods*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage*
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Mifepristone / administration & dosage*
  • Mifepristone / adverse effects
  • Misoprostol / administration & dosage*
  • Misoprostol / adverse effects
  • Pain / chemically induced
  • Pregnancy


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal
  • Misoprostol
  • Mifepristone
  • Methotrexate