Frequently asked questions about medical abortion

Contraception. 2006 Jul;74(1):3-10. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2006.03.029. Epub 2006 May 15.


The development of methods of inducing abortion medically (nonsurgically) has created alternative options to make abortion available to women in a variety of health-care settings. Medical abortion is induced with a regimen of mifepristone followed by a prostaglandin analogue. Since its first introduction in the late 1980s, the regimen has undergone some modifications based on research evidence, and, in many countries, clinicians are using regimens that may differ from the one that has been licensed. This causes confusion among providers, also because only a few countries have developed national guidelines for the provision of medical abortion. We approached health care personnel providing abortion services in various countries and asked them to send us questions that they, or their colleagues, might have concerning the clinical practice of medical abortion in the early first trimester (up to 63 days since the first day of the last menstrual period). These questions were sent to experts representing the fields of biomedical and clinical research, clinical practice and family planning, who conducted literature reviews so that, whenever possible, the answers could be based on existing evidence. A consensus meeting was held in Bellagio, Italy, between November 1 and 5, 2004, to review the questions and to discuss the answers. The aim of this article is to provide a brief overview of some of the questions asked and the answers discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal / administration & dosage
  • Abortion, Induced* / adverse effects
  • Abortion, Induced* / methods
  • Consensus Development Conferences as Topic*
  • Contraception
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Mifepristone / administration & dosage
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostaglandins / administration & dosage
  • Uterine Hemorrhage


  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal
  • Prostaglandins
  • Mifepristone