RU486 “French Abortion Pill”


The RU486 Abortion Pill (RU 486, Mifepristone, Mifeprex™, early abortion pill)

RU486 is the original name of the abortion pill that has safely been used in France for almost 2 decades. RU486 was approved for used in the United States in 2000, and is known as the “Abortion Pill,” or Mifeprex™. The generic name for RU486 is mifepristone.

The RU486 Abortion Pill is an excellent non-surgical early abortion method, as women experience ending a pregnancy as a natural process, or early miscarriage. The RU486 Abortion Pill requires an initial visit and a follow-up visit by a doctor, but the main process occurs in the privacy of your own home. You cannot buy RU486 online or through a pharmacy. Only doctors’ offices can purchase and administer RU486.

RU486 Abortion Pill is a three step process:

1) You take the first medication (mifeprisone) in the office.  This pill blocks the hormones of pregnancy from working, and the pregnancy tissue detaches from the uterus.

2) You take the second medications (misoprostol) at home.  These medications cause the miscarriage.

3) You return to the office to confirm that the pregnancy has ended.
The SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure: the other non-surgical method
If you are considering the RU 486 Abortion Pill, you should also consider the non-surgical SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure. The SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure has many advantages over the Abortion Pill and surgical abortion. There is less cramping and much less bleeding compared to the Abortion Pill. The Aspiration Procedure is completed in less than 5 minutes in a regular medical examination room, has immediate recovery, and does not require a follow up visit. The SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure is safer and more convenient than a surgical abortion because there is no scraping, no electric suction machine and no general anesthesia.

RU486 compared to SofTouch® Aspiration Abortion: Two Non Surgical Methods to end Early Pregnancy

RU486 SofTouch® Aspiration Procedure
2 visits to the doctor’s office 1 visit to the doctor’s office
Pills can be taken in the privacy of your own home. You can choose a time to start the process. Procedure can be completed in 5 minutes in a private examination room
Noninvasive method does not require scraping, electric suction, or being put to sleep Noninvasive procedure does not require scraping, electric suction, or being put to sleep
Does not require a procedure Procedure is similar to getting a gynecologic exam or Pap smear


RU486 Abortion Pill: What to expect?

Women usually don’t have any symptoms with the first pill (RU486). You are able to continue your normal activities. Occasionally there can be some spotting or bleeding.

Symptoms usually begin when you take four misoprostol tablets at home, 24-72 hours later. Some women experience mild nausea, mild fever or chills within hours of taking the second medication. This is a side effect of the second medication, misoprostol and usually does not last for more than an hour. Cramping typically starts 1-2 hours after the misoprostol. Most women have several hours of cramping that can be relieved with pain medications. Bleeding usually follows the cramping, and can be heavy for several hours. Typically, the bleeding then becomes more like a period and then irregular bleeding or spotting can continue for weeks to months.

You must come back for a follow up visit to make sure the RU486 Abortion Pill was successful. Most offices like to see you within a week of taking the first pill.

RU486 ABORTION PILL: What are the Advantages?
Generally, women are happy with the RU 486 Abortion Pill. 90% of women who choose the method would recommend it to others.

  • You are able to be in the comfort and privacy of your own home
  • Some couples appreciate being able to go through the process together
  • There is no procedure
  • RU486 can be similar to the experience of a natural miscarriage.

It is safe to take RU486 between 5-9 weeks of pregnancy, counting from the first day of your last menstrual period. At Early Options® the doctor will confirm the date of conception by an ultrasound examination.

RU486 induces a natural early miscarriage. The Abortion Pill is actually two sets of pills. The first pill, RU486 or mifepristone, blocks the pregnancy hormones from reaching the uterus, so the tissue lining stops growing and starts to detach from the uterus.
The second set of pills, misoprostol, cause the uterus to contract and the cervix to relax and open. This brings induces your period, or causes an early miscarriage.

You cannot buy the RU486 pill online or purchase it at a pharmacy. RU486 is only distributed to doctor’s offices. If you see an advertisement to purchase RU486 online, it is fraudulent.

There is no difference between RU486 and the abortion pill. They are different names for the same pill. Other names for RU486 include: the French abortion pill, the early abortion pill, the early option pill, mifepristone, and Mifeprex™.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RU486 and MISOPROSTOL? The abortion pill process actually involves 2 types of pills. The first pill is RU486, or mifepristone. This pill blocks the pregnancy hormones and stops the pregnancy from growing. The second set of pills, misoprostol, are taken at home 24-72 hours later. Misoprostol pills cause the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy. In some countries, women can buy misoprostol at a pharmacy, however you cannot by the RU486 pill. In these countries, some women choose to take misoprostol tablets alone, without the RU486. Misoprostol alone is successful for 80% of early pregnancies, compared to a 98% success rate if used with RU486. Using misoprostol without RU486 is risky because it has a high failure rate and misoprostol causes serious birth defects.

90% of women who take RU486 say they would recommend it to other women. Some women have a negative experience with RU486, including:

  • Severe cramping that can last up to 8 hours
  • Heavier bleeding that can last months. In rare cases transfusions have been required.
  • It can fail to work 1-2% of the time
  • Extremely rare deaths of infection (the death rate is lower than surgical abortion, and 1/10th the rate in childbirth).

Usually you do not have any symptoms when you take the first RU486 pill. Cramping begins within hours after taking the second misoprostol tablets. Most women experience several hours of strong cramping, similar to a bad period. At Early Options® we send you home with pain medications and carefully instruct you on how to take them to avoid severe cramping.

Early in the pregnancy the tissue resembles a heavy menstrual period. Generally the earlier you are, the less bleeding there is. Typically after you take the second set of pills you will have several hours of bleeding, heavier than a period. Within hours, the bleeding should become more like a period. This bleeding will last usually a week or more. It is common and normal to have irregular bleeding that lasts for weeks to months. The average length of bleeding is 6 weeks. This bleeding can be spotting, bleeding that stops and starts, or daily bleeding. The bleeding can normally be red or brown in color. The passing of small or large clots is common and normal.

Our Medical Director is an international expert on early abortion care. She was one of the original researchers of the Abortion Pill (RU486) in the United States. All doctors at Early Options have received specialized training in early abortion care.

DO I NEED TO MISS WORK OR SCHOOL? No. One of the best things about the RU486 Abortion Pill is that you can choose a time that fits your schedule. You can take the second set of pills after work, 24-72 hours after the first pill. Once you take the second set of pills, the miscarriage usually happens within hours. You should be able to resume your normal activities several hours later.

If you are early enough to take the RU486 Abortion Pill (under 9 weeks since the first day of your last menstrual period) there is no visible embryo. At this stage the pregnancy consists of a heavy period, a tiny bubble of fluid, and invisible cells. You will see blood, like your period. You may see some of the pregnancy lining that looks like a wet paper towel material. You may pass small or large clots.

You must be pregnant to take the early Abortion Pill. RU486 ends early pregnancy. The Morning After Pill (or emergency contraception) is taken after unprotected sex to AVOID getting pregnant. For more information, see the section on Plan B.

Yes. It is easy to disguise your symptoms as a bad period or an early miscarriage. A doctor or medical professional cannot tell if you have taken the RU 486 abortion pill