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. 2011 Apr;83(4):295-309.
doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2010.11.006. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

Prevention of Infection After Induced Abortion: Release Date October 2010: SFP Guideline 20102

Prevention of Infection After Induced Abortion: Release Date October 2010: SFP Guideline 20102

Sharon L Achilles et al. Contraception. .


One known complication of induced abortion is upper genital tract infection, which is relatively uncommon in the current era of safe, legal abortion. Currently, rates of upper genital tract infection in the setting of legal induced abortion in the United States are generally less than 1%. Randomized controlled trials support the use of prophylactic antibiotics for surgical abortion in the first trimester. For medical abortion, treatment-dose antibiotics may lower the risk of serious infection. However, the number-needed-to-treat is high. Consequently, the balance of risk and benefits warrants further investigation. Perioperative oral doxycycline given up to 12 h before a surgical abortion appears to effectively reduce infectious risk. Antibiotics that are continued after the procedure for extended durations meet the definition for a treatment regimen rather than a prophylactic regimen. Prophylactic efficacy of antibiotics begun after abortion has not been demonstrated in controlled trials. Thus, the current evidence supports pre-procedure but not post-procedure antibiotics for the purpose of prophylaxis. No controlled studies have examined the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis for induced surgical abortion beyond 15 weeks of gestation. The risk of infection is not altered when an intrauterine device is inserted immediately post-procedure. The presence of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae or acute cervicitis carries a significant risk of upper genital tract infection; this risk is significantly reduced with antibiotic prophylaxis. Women with bacterial vaginosis (BV) also have an elevated risk of post-procedural infection as compared with women without BV; however, additional prophylactic antibiotics for women with known BV has not been shown to reduce their risk further than with use of typical pre-procedure antibiotic prophylaxis. Accordingly, evidence to support pre-procedure screening for BV is lacking. Neither povidone-iodine nor chlorhexidine have been shown to alter the risk of infection when used as cervicovaginal preparation. However, chlorhexidine appears to be more effective than povidone iodine at reducing bacteria within the vagina. The Society of Family Planning recommends the routine use of antibiotic prophylaxis, preferably with doxycycline, before surgical abortion. Use of treatment doses of antibiotics with medical abortion may decrease the rare risk of serious infection but universal requirement for such treatment has not been established.

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