Jill Durocher

A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Mifepristone, Misoprostol, and Combination Mifepristone-Misoprostol Package Inserts Obtained in 20 Countries

May 1st, 2020
Medication Abortion
Frye, L.J., Klifedder, C., Blum, J., Winikoff, B.

Contraception; May 2020; Vol. 101(5):315-320; doi:

Objective: To evaluate the characteristics, clinical information, and storage instructions contained in package inserts from medical abortion commodities collected in low- and middle-income countries.

Study design:
From November 2017 to February 2018 mifepristone, misoprostol, and combined mifepristone-misoprostol (combipack) products were collected to populate the Medical Abortion Commodities Database. We extracted stated indications for use, storage instructions, and date of last revision from each package insert obtained. For those inserts listing medical abortion as an indication, we also extracted eligibility criteria, recommended regimens, side effects, and contraindications.

We identified 41 package inserts from 20 countries; 19 (46%) listed medical abortion as an indication including all 7 combipacks, all 7 mifepristone products, and 5/27 (19%) misoprostol products. Date of last insert revision ranged from 1991 to 2016. Gestational age limits for early medical abortion ranged from 49 days to “first trimester.” Three (43%) mifepristone products recommended a 600 mg oral dose and two (29%) recommended regimens with gemeprost. Eighteen (67%) misoprostol and one (14%) combipack inserts recommended protection from moisture.

The characteristics, clinical information, and storage instructions in medical abortion product package inserts from a variety of field settings in low- and middle-income countries included inadequate storage instructions and outdated gestational age limits and regimens.

There is an urgent need to revisit approved inserts for medical abortion products in low- and middle-income countries to ensure information is accurate and reflects the current evidence base. Simultaneously, providing supplemental instructions targeted at users may fill some gaps. People have a right to accurate information to ensure a safe and effective medical abortion experience.