What Is Mifepristone Used For?

Mifepristone is prescribed to cause an abortion within the first seven weeks of pregnancy. It is also used to control high blood sugar in certain people. This drug is only approved for use in adult women, and works by causing the lining of the uterus to become soft and break down. Mifepristone may also be used for "off-label" (unapproved) purposes, such as for inducing labor.

An Overview of Uses for Mifepristone

Mifepristone (Mifeprex®, Korlym™) is a prescription medication approved to end an early pregnancy. It is also approved to control high blood sugar, known as hyperglycemia, in people with endogenous Cushing's syndrome.

Using Mifepristone to End an Early Pregnancy

An early pregnancy means it has been 49 days (7 weeks) or less since your last menstrual period. Mifepristone is sometimes called "the abortion pill." When it was being developed, it was referred to as RU-486. However, mifepristone is not the same as the "morning after pill" (Plan B®).
Mifepristone is taken orally (by mouth) in a healthcare setting, such as a healthcare provider's office or clinic. This makes it a convenient option for women who prefer to try to avoid a surgical abortion. If mifepristone does not successfully end the pregnancy, another medicine, misoprostol (Cytotec®), is taken by mouth two days later.
Although mifepristone usually ends a pregnancy when used as directed, you should know that the medication is not always successful. Therefore, you may still need a surgical procedure to end your pregnancy. In studies, about 5 percent to 8 percent of women needed a surgical procedure to end their pregnancy or to stop excessive bleeding after taking mifepristone.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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