Mifepristone is a steroid that is used by most pharmaceutical companies as a method of abortion to end the first trimester of pregnancy. It usually attacks progesterone receptors and is therefore administered in smaller doses as an emergency contraceptive.
The manufacturing company that designed this synthetic drug (also known as RU-486) is regulated by Roussel Uclaf. This so-called “abortion pill” was initially marketed in France and later in other countries. The sale and dispensing of this product continued even amidst controversial issues. The abortifacients are marketed under the trade names Korlym and Mifeprex.
Mifepristone is mostly marketed outside of the United States by Exelgyn Laboratories in France under the name Mifegyne and is medically approved for the following uses
Medically, as termination of intrauterine pregnancy up to 49 days of gestation or, in Europe, particularly in Sweden and the United Kingdom, up to 63 days of gestation.
It is used as cervical softening and dilation prior to mechanical dilation of the cervix for termination of pregnancy.
It is mostly used in combination with gemiprost at 13 to 24 weeks of gestation to terminate a pregnancy.
It is used to induce labor in cases of intrauterine fetal death.
Other uses of the drug
As observed in phase II clinical studies of this mifepristone, other clinical uses of the drug include oral contraceptives, treatment of endometriosis, glaucoma, uterine fibroids and meningiomas, in addition to breast, ovarian and prostate cancers.
The drug has also been found to be effective in the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome, with no side effects even after 10 years of use. In addition, it has been observed to be effective in addressing the symptoms of septic major depression, a type of depression that is resistant to conventional therapies. The effect was immediate; however, the study was limited by the small sample and very limited duration of treatment.
The existence of this abortifacient has been plagued by much controversy and negative feedback. In the United States alone, there are many pro-life groups actively protesting the approval of the drug, and many more are constantly calling for its withdrawal. The arguments cited are either about the ethics of the concept of abortion or the safety of the drug’s adverse effects on the human body, including death, which is labeled the “RU-486 Suspension and Review Act”.
In addition, even religious and pro-life groups outside the United States are crusading against the use of mifepristone, especially in Germany and Australia. Therefore, the proper use of this drug should be supported by medical experts.