Misoprostol as first-line treatment for incomplete abortion at a secondary-level health facility in Nigeria

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Nov;119(2):170-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2012.06.012. Epub 2012 Aug 27.


Objective: To determine the feasibility of introducing misoprostol as first-line treatment for incomplete abortion at a secondary-level health facility.

Methods: An open-label prospective study was conducted in a secondary-level health facility in Nigeria. Eligible women diagnosed with incomplete abortion received 400-μg sublingual misoprostol as first-line treatment. Nurse-midwives took the lead in diagnosis, counseling, treatment, and assessment of final outcome. The primary outcome was the proportion of women who completed the abortion process.

Results: Complete evacuation was achieved in 83 of 90 (92.2%) eligible women. The most common adverse effects were abdominal pain/cramps (58 [64.4%]), heavy bleeding (21 [23.3%]), spotting (15 [16.7%]), and fever/chills (11 [12.2%]). More than 90% of women reported that the procedure was satisfactory, that pain and adverse effects were tolerable, and that bleeding was acceptable. Eighty-four (93.3%) and 86 (95.6%) women, respectively, would use the method in the future and recommend it to friends.

Conclusion: Misoprostol is an effective, safe, and acceptable method for treating incomplete abortion. It can be successfully used as first-line treatment by nurse-midwives. Success rates over 90% are consistent with findings from previous studies in which drug administration was controlled solely by physicians.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01539408.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / administration & dosage
  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / adverse effects
  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Abortion, Incomplete / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Sublingual
  • Adult
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Misoprostol / administration & dosage
  • Misoprostol / adverse effects
  • Misoprostol / therapeutic use*
  • Nigeria
  • Nurse Midwives / organization & administration*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal
  • Misoprostol

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01539408