Gynuity Health Projects is at the forefront of efforts to develop and advance “period pills” in the United States and other settings around the world. “Period pills” involve the use of uterine evacuation medications for treatment of delayed menses without prior pregnancy confirmation. The concept is similar to menstrual regulation, which is typically offered in legally restricted settings such as Bangladesh, to assure a state of non-pregnancy. In settings such as the U.S., where period pills are not currently marketed, their provision could expand choice and service options to people with late periods who do not want to be pregnant and prefer not to know their pregnancy status before taking medications to bring back their menses.
To date, our efforts to advance this concept have included research to assess potential interest in such an option in the U.S. and Senegal, establishment of the working group on period pills in the U.S., and clinical trials to assess the efficacy, safety, and acceptability of various medications for this purpose.
Exploring Potential Interest in Period Pills
In order to assess potential interest in period pills in the U.S., Gynuity Health Projects surveyed nearly 700 people seeking pregnancy tests at reproductive health clinics in two U.S. states. The results suggested that demand for such a service could be substantial and would have wide appeal. Over 40% of those surveyed said that they would want period pills that day if they could have them. Interest was greatest among those who would be unhappy if pregnant, closely followed by those who indicated they would get an abortion if pregnant. Reasons for their interest included psychological or emotional benefits associated with not knowing their pregnancy status; and could be of particular appeal to persons facing abortion-related stigma. Consult Sheldon et al., 2020.
In Senegal, Gynuity Health Projects undertook a qualitative study to understand how women and girls manage their menses and fertility, and document acceptability of medical menstrual regulation among women, youth, and health providers. Findings from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews showed that women and young people were open to medical menstrual regulation as a way to manage a missed or late period, but its introduction and implementation would be feasible only if policymakers approved and health providers supported the service. Consult Mary et al., 2022.
Studies to Evaluate the Efficacy and Acceptability of Period Pills
To generate the evidence needed to support clinical provision of such an option and potentially to support the registration of a dedicated pharmaceutical product, Gynuity Health Projects is conducting studies with partner clinics in the U.S. and Mexico. The studies are assessing the efficacy, safety, and acceptability of differing regimens for treatment of early missed menses involving standard abortion medications and other potential medicines currently registered and available in the region.
Partnerships for Policy and Practice
Partnerships for Policy and Practice
Working Group on Period Pills in the U.S.
Gynuity Health Projects leads and convenes regular meetings of the Working Group on Period Pills in the U.S. Established by Gynuity Health Projects in 2019, the working group is comprised of individual and organizational members with clinical, legal, research, and advocacy expertise. Together, we work to build support for this service delivery option and advance the concept through webinars and media outreach.
In the News - Sample Selection
- ‘Of Course, Women Will Adopt it!’: A Qualitative Study on the Acceptability of Medical Menstrual Regulation in Senegal
- Exploring Potential Interest in Missed Period Pills in Two US States
- Mifepristone–Misoprostol for Menstrual Regulation in Public Sector Facilities in Bangladesh
- Acceptability and Feasibility of Mifepristone-Misoprostol For Menstrual Regulation in Bangladesh