Cytotec for Abortion: Everything You Need to Know

by the safe2choose team and supporting experts at carafem, based on the 2020 recommendations by The National Abortion Fund (NAF) and the 2019 recommendations by Ipas.

There are many different types of abortion pills on the market and availablity is different around the world. Cytotec is among the most common of these pills. Whether you are concerned about how Cytotec works, pricing, dosage or where to get it, we hope this guide will be useful. If you have additional questions, please reach out to one of our counselors direclty by email or live chat and they will be happy to support.

What is the Cytotec Abortion Pill

Cytotec is a pill used for abortion in pregnancies up to 11 weeks. It is a prostaglandin medication, which means it causes softening and dilation of the cervix and uterine contractions when used during pregnancy. It is produced by the Pfizer pharmaceutical company. [1]

How Does Cytotec Work for Abortions?

Cytotec works by softening and dilating the cervix, and it also causes the uterus to contract. All of these actions help to expel the pregnancy. Typically it will start working within ~1 hour of use, but it can take more. [2]

What is the Cytotec Dosage?

Typically Cytotec comes in pills of 200mcg, and the recommended dosing varies based on how far along the pregnancy is.

For pregnancies under 9 weeks gestation, the recommended Cytotec dosage is 2 sets of 800mcg (a total of 1600mcg, or 8 pills).

For pregnancies between 9-11 weeks gestation, the recommended Cytotec dosage to have available is 3 sets of 800mcg (a total of 2400mcg, or 12 pills). [3]

What is the Cytotec Dosage for 6 Weeks Pregnant?

For pregnancies 6 weeks or less, the recommended Cytotec dosage is 2 sets of 800mcg (a total of 1600mcg, or 8 pills). In some cases it is also recommended to have an extra set of 800mcg (4 pills) on hand for use. [3]

What is the Cytotec Dosage for 9 Weeks Pregnant?

For pregnancies under 9 weeks gestation, the recommended Cytotec dosage is 2 sets of 800mcg (a total of 1600mcg, or 8 pills). In some cases it is also recommended to have an extra set of 800mcg (4 pills) on hand for use. [3]

What is the Cytotec Dosage for 9 to 11 Weeks Pregnant?

For pregnancies between 9 to 11 weeks gestation, the recommended Cytotec dosage to have available is 3 sets of 800mcg (a total of 2400mcg, or 12 pills). [3]

What is the Price of Cytotec?

The price of Cytotec is often quite low, but it will vary depending on geographic location. Different countries have different laws about abortion, and this can also effect the price of Cytotec. It is possible that in countries with legal restrictions on abortion, the price of Cytotec without a prescription could be more costly.

There are organizations that will ship the pills for a donation, you can check out this website for more information about obtaining the pills. [4]

How to Take Cytotec

safe2choose recommends using Cytotec under the tongue, or sublingually. The best way to do this is to place the Cytotec tablets directly under the tongue, and let the tablets dissolve there for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, any remaining tablets can be swallowed with water.

3 hours after the first dose (800mcg) of Cytotec, the next dose should be repeated in the same manner. If a third dose is indicated by the protocol, it should be performed 3 hours after the second dose. [3]

What are the Side Effects of Cytotec

When used for abortion, the intended effects of Cytotec are to cause abdominal cramping and bleeding. In addition to these effects, it is possible to experience side effects including: nausesa, vomiting, diarrhea, fevers, and chills.

Typically these symptoms are limited to 24 hours. [4]

What Does Cytotec Abortion Pills Look Like?

Cytotec 200mcg tablets are small, white, hexagonally shaped pills. They are scored in the center and will have “searle” and/or “1461” imprinted onto them. [5]

How to Get Cytotec Abortion Pills?

The availability of Cytotec abortion pills is variable depending on geographic location. Cytotec is also indicated for stomach ulcers, so it can sometimes be found over-the-counter without a prescription. If this is the case, the Cytotec is likely to be located near the stomach medications in your local pharmacy. If they are not found there, it is likely that it requires a prescription at the pharmacy.

This website may be useful in finding out the accessibility of Cytotec in your location [6], or you can get in touch with our counselors, and they will be able to help you locate a trustworthy provider near you.

Authors:

The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers North America.

carafem provides convenient and professional abortion care and family planning so people can control the number and spacing of their children.

Ipas is the only international organization solely focused on expanding access to safe abortion and contraceptive care.

image of cytotec pill packaging

Photo credit: Cytotec. Flickr

image of hexagonal cytotec pill

Photo credit: Cytotec. Flickr

image of circular cytotec pill

Photo credit: Cytotec. Flickr


Sources

[1] Uptodate. Misoprostol as a single agent for medical termination of pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/misoprostol-as-a-single-agent-for-medical-termination-of-pregnancy?search=cytotec&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~117&usage_type=default&display_rank=1#H2428459676

[2] Allen R, O’Brien BM. Uses of misoprostol in obstetrics and gynecology. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2009;2(3):159–168. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2760893/

[3] Ipas. (2019). Clinical Updates in Reproductive Health. L. Castleman & N. Kapp (Eds.). Chapel Hill, NC: Ipas. Retrieved from: https://ipas.azureedge.net/files/CURHE19-april-ClinicalUpdatesInReproductiveHealth.pdf

[4] Uptodate. Misoprostol: drug information. Retrieved from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/misoprostol-drug-information?search=cytotec&source=panel_search_result&selectedTitle=1~117&usage_type=panel&kp_tab=drug_general&display_rank=1#F197173

[5] WebMD. Drugs and medications: cytotec. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-1786/cytotec-oral/details

[6] Women On Waves. Map Countries. Retrieved from: https://www.womenonwaves.org/en/map/country

We are staying available to support you with your abortion during COVID-19.

We are closely monitoring the situation of coronavirus globally and will keep updating our information and services.

We advise our readers to:

  1. Read our latest blog post on abortion and COVID-19
  2. Follow WHO safety guidelines on COVID-19
  3. Contact our counselors