Outpatient chemotherapy of unruptured ectopic pregnancy

Fertil Steril. 1989 Mar;51(3):435-8.


This report describes an individualized, reduced dose, methotrexate (MTX) and citrovorum factor (CF) treatment regimen for outpatient management of unruptured ectopic pregnancy (EP). One hundred sixteen laparoscopically documented EPs, the majority (90%) of whom were symptomatic, were diagnosed from an Emergency Department population. Eighty of 116 (69%) were unruptured, 37 (46.3%) of whom were eligible for MTX-CF chemotherapy. One patient refused chemotherapy. Thirty-four of the 36 (94.4%) patients treated with MTX-CF had complete resolution of their ectopics, whereas 2 experienced rupture after chemotherapy, 1 of them 23 days after MTX initiation. While there were no major chemotherapy-related side effects, 3 of the 36 (8.3%) patients experienced minor side effects. The authors conclude that: (1) individualized dosing of outpatient MTX-CF chemotherapy for symptomatic EP can be safely managed, even in an indigent population; (2) rupture can occur up to 23 days after chemotherapy initiation; (3) fetal cardiac activity is an absolute contraindication to chemotherapy; (4) chemotherapy in patients with symptoms is of limited value because the disease is too far advanced; therefore, it is essential that the diagnosis of EP be established before symptom onset; and (5) chemotherapy offers no significant immediate advantages to outpatient laparoscopic surgery. However, increasingly reliable nonlaparoscopic diagnosis will soon give wider application to this approach.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / blood
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fallopian Tube Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leucovorin / administration & dosage*
  • Leucovorin / adverse effects
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage*
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / complications
  • Pregnancy, Ectopic / drug therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rupture, Spontaneous / etiology


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Leucovorin
  • Methotrexate