NPS MedicineWise medicine update: mifepristone (RU486) and misoprostol

23 September 2013

NPS MedicineWise has published information for women who are considering medical termination of early pregnancy using mifepristone (RU486) and misoprostol.

The latest issue of NPS MedicineWise consumer publication Medicine Update explains that mifepristone and misoprostol are two oral medicines (tablets) that can be taken in sequence up to 49 days after your last period as an alternative to surgically terminating a pregnancy.

Mifepristone (also called RU486) has recently been registered for use in Australia; both mifepristone and misoprostol are now available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The decision to choose medical rather than surgical termination is a matter of personal preference in most cases.

The Medicine Update article provides a detailed, evidence-based comparison of medical and surgical termination options, and encourages women to discuss the risks and benefits of both methods with their doctor or another trusted health professional before making their decision.

The in depth article also provides information about:

  • how medical termination is different from surgical termination
  • the process of having a medical termination
  • who can prescribe mifepristone and misoprostol and where it is available
  • who can and can’t take the medicine
  • important side effects to consider, and
  • how to find out more information about terminating pregnancy and other pregnancy and contraceptive options.

To read the full Medicine Update article on mifepristone (RU486) and misoprostol go to

For more information on prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines (herbal, ‘natural’, vitamins and minerals) from a health professional, call NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) . Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 9am–5pm AEST (excluding public holidays).


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