Jill Durocher

Clinical Outcomes of Medication Abortion Using Misoprostol-Only: A Retrospective Chart Review at an Abortion Provider Organization in the United States

June 28th, 2023
Medication Abortion
Raymond, E. G., Weaver, M. A., Shochet, T., Grant, M., Boyd, K., Koenig, L. R., Upadhyay, U.

Contraception; 2023 June 28; 110109. doi:

Objectives: This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medication abortion with misoprostol-only among patients treated by an abortion provider organization in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Study design: We abstracted data from patients receiving misoprostol-only for abortion from December 2020 to December 2021. Two regimens were used, both allowing three to four doses of misoprostol 800 mcg every 3 hours but differing in the recommended administration routes (vaginal, buccal, or sublingual). We estimated the proportions of patients who had complete abortion and ongoing pregnancy in the two regimen groups in complete case analyses and after imputing missing outcomes based on pretreatment characteristics. We also estimated maximum effectiveness, assuming that all patients without known treatment failures had complete abortions. We tabulated serious adverse events.

We ascertained abortion outcomes for 476 (52%) of the total 911 treated patients. Of the 476 patients, 389 (82%) had complete abortion confirmed by test or history, and 45 (9%) had ongoing pregnancies detected after the provision of treatment. These proportions did not differ significantly between the two regimen groups in adjusted complete case analyses (p > 0.44). The results of imputed analyses were similar. Of the total 911 patients, at most 90% (95% confidence interval 88%, 92%) had complete abortion, and at least 5% (95% confidence interval 4%, 7%) had ongoing pregnancy. Serious adverse events were reported in three patients (0.6% of 487 patients with data for this outcome).

Our analysis suggests that the misoprostol-only regimens studied were safe and effective for most patients. Due to high loss to follow-up, observations from patients contacted after treatment likely somewhat underestimate true effectiveness.

Medication abortion with misoprostol-only was safe and produced complete abortion in most patients with follow-up. If loss to follow-up is high, effectiveness observed by clinics may misestimate true treatment efficacy.

COVID-19; Effectiveness; Medication abortion; Misoprostol-only; Multiple imputation; Safety