RU486 for Abortion: Everything You Need to Know

There are many different types of abortion pills on the market and availability is different around the world. RU486 (Mifepristone) is among the most common of these pills. Whether you are concerned about how RU486 works, pricing, dosage or where to get it, we hope this guide will be useful. If you have additional questions, please contact our counselors, and we will be happy to support.

What is the RU486 Abortion Pill?

RU486 (also known as Mifepristone) is a pill used for abortion in pregnancies up to 11 weeks. RU486 blocks the pregnancy hormone needed for a pregnancy to grow. RU486 is produced by several different pharmaceutical companies around the world, and marketed under several different names (for example Mifegyne, Mifeprex). [1]

How Does RU486 Work for Abortions?

RU486 blocks the effects of progesterone, which is a natural hormone that is needed for the pregnancy to grow. This stops the pregnancy from growing, and it prepares the uterus to contract and the cervix to soften and dilate. Typically, it will start working within 24-48 hours of use.

For abortion, RU486 is intended for use in combination with a prostaglandin medication (such as Misoprostol, Cytotec, Misotrol), which will help the cervix soften and dilate, and the uterus to contract. [1], [2]

Dosage of RU486 Dosage

RU486 comes in pills of 200mg which is the recommended dose for pregnancy of any gestation under 11 weeks. It should be swallowed orally. After waiting 24-48 hours after using RU486, it should be followed with a prostaglandin medication (such as Misoprostol, Cytotec, Misotrol). [1], [2]

The recommended dosage of the prostaglandin will vary based on pregnancy gestation, see the recommended protocol here for more information.

Dosage of RU486 and Misoprostol for Women Under 9 Weeks Pregnant: You will need 1 pill of RU486 and 4 pills of Misoprostol, and it is recommended to have an extra 4 pills of Misoprostol (a total of 8 pills of Misoprostol).

Dosage of RU486 and Misoprostol for Women Between 9-11 Weeks Pregnant: You will need 1 pill of RU486 and at least 4 pills of Misoprostol, however it is strongly recommended to have an extra 4 pills of Misoprostol (a total of 8 pills of Misoprostol) since you are between 9-11 weeks. If it is difficult to obtain 8 pills, you can choose to proceed with only 4 pills of Misoprostol, but the effectiveness will be reduced.

Price of RU486

The price of RU486 will vary depending on geographic location. Different countries have different laws about abortion, and this can also affect the price of RU486.

There are organizations that will ship the pills for a donation, you can check out Women on Web and Women Help Women for more information about obtaining RU486. [4]

How to Take RU486

safe2choose recommends swallowing 1 pill of RU486 (200mg) with water. If you throw up in the first 30 minutes after swallowing the RU486 pill, it is likely that the pill will not work and you will need to take another RU486 pill.

Wait 24-48 hours after taking the RU486 pill, and then use the recommended dose of prostaglandin.

The instructions and dosing for the prostaglandin medication vary based on the pregnancy gestation, details and protocol can be found here.

Side Effects of RU486

RU486 may cause some increase in nausea associated with the pregnancy, and it is possible that it may cause abdominal cramping and bleeding. Typically, cramping and bleeding will occur only after using a prostaglandin medication in combination with the RU486 pill.

What Does the RU486 Abortion Pills Look Like?

RU486 is made by several different pharmaceutical companies, and thus RU486 may come in different shapes and sizes. It is always a 200mg tablet.

How to Get RU486 Abortion Pills

The availability of RU486 abortion pill is variable depending on geographic location and the respective laws or restrictions regarding abortion.

This website may be useful in finding out the accessibility of RU486 in your location [4], or you can get in touch with our counselors, and they will be able to help you locate a trustworthy provider near you.

Authors:

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.

The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in 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


Sources

[1] Gynuity. Providing medical abortion in low-resource settings An Introductory Guidebook. Second Edition. 2009. Retrieved from: https://gynuity.org/assets/resources/clinguide_maguide2nd_edition_en.pdf

[2] World Health Organization (WHO). Safe abortion: technical and policy guidance for health systems, second edition. 2012. Retrieved from: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70914/9789241548434_eng.pdf;jsessionid=F77B761669FC579124C1E9CA2CC3CFDB?sequence=1

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

Last updated on 04/09/2020

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