May 2011


Mifepristone in South Australia

The first 1343 tablets

Volume 40, No.5, May 2011 Pages 342-345

Ea Mulligan

Hayley Messenger


Mifepristone has recently become available in Australia but its use is restricted.


To describe the use of mifepristone in South Australia in the period 2009–2010 and to explore options that may become available to general practitioners.


Mifepristone has been added to regimens for early and second trimester abortions – both medical and surgical abortions. It has been most commonly used in early medical abortions. In this audit the complication rates of early medical abortion with mifepristone compared favourably to early surgical abortion. There are implications in service delivery of early medical abortion compared to early surgical abortion.

The progesterone antagonist mifepristone has been in use for so long that the patent (RU486, by which it was known) has expired. After extensive use in many countries, including France (since 1988), China (since 1988), the United Kingdom (since 1991), the United States of America (since 2000) and New Zealand (since 2001), there is now ample evidence of its safety and efficacy in inducing abortion.1 It also shows promise when used for a number of other indications including cervical ripening before surgical abortion, induction of labour at term, menstrual regulation, postcoital contraception and treatment of fibroids.2

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