Misoprostol Recommended for Post-Abortion Care

Panel recommends making drug available to all women requiring follow-up for an incomplete abortion or miscarriage

MONDAY, Feb. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The synthetic prostaglandin analog misoprostol can provide inexpensive and effective post-abortion care for women experiencing problems related to spontaneous or induced abortion, according to an opinion published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The opinion, issued by the Committee on International Affairs, noted a high mortality rate among women experiencing untreated or inadequately treated abortion complications. Worldwide, approximately 67,000 deaths per year occur due to these complications, mostly in developing countries. The committee stated that optimal post-abortion care -- the health care services for women who experience a complication following a spontaneous or an induced abortion -- can help to alleviate this high mortality. One strategy of post-abortion care is the use of misoprostol to achieve complete uterine evacuation.

The current available literature shows misoprostol is effective as a post-abortion drug, achieving a 66 to 99 percent rate of complete expulsion in women who experience an incomplete, inevitable or missed abortion in the first trimester. In the article, the committee describes key recommendations for the administration of misoprostol in this setting, including 600 mcg orally for incomplete abortion and 800 mcg vaginally for missed abortion. Serious adverse events are rare with misoprostol. The committee further recommends that women receiving misoprostol should be followed-up for one to two weeks after receiving the drug, to ensure the abortion was complete.

"Misoprostol must be readily available especially for women who do not otherwise have access to post-abortion care," the authors conclude.

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