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Mifepristone (By mouth)

Ends a pregnancy that is less than 10 weeks along (70 days or less since the start of your last menstrual period). Also used to control high blood sugar in patients with Cushing syndrome.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Mifepristone is used in a regimen together with misoprostol to end a pregnancy that is less than 70 days in duration. It works by stopping the supply of hormones that maintains the interior of the uterus. Without these hormones, the uterus cannot support the pregnancy and the contents of the uterus are expelled. Mifepristone is also used to control high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) in patients… Read more
Brand names include
Korlym, Mifeprex
Drug classes About this
Antiglucocorticoid, Antiprogesterone

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Mifepristone for induction of labour

Not enough evidence on the effects of mifepristone (RU 486) to induce labour.

Mifepristone for uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are also known as uterine leiomyoma, myoma or  fibromyoma and are non‐cancerous benign growths in the uterus. Fibroids are the most common benign tumours in females and are typically found during the middle and later reproductive years. Common symptoms include heavy bleeding, menstrual pain, pressure in lower abdomen, infertility or miscarriage. Fibroids can be treated with surgery using either myomectomy (removal of fibroids leaving the uterus in place) or hysterectomy (removal of uterus). Drugs such as mifepristone have been suggested as a therapeutic option. This review includes three trials and 112 women with uterine fibroids under mifepristone treatment. These clinical trials included a small number of participants and show limited methodological quality. The studies included in this review show that mifepristone had a moderate effect in relief of bleeding and showed an improvement in fibroid‐specific quality of life. Determination of the effects of mifepristone on uterine fibroid volume requires much larger trials to draw a confident conclusion for mifepristone in clinical use.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of mifepristone concomitant with misoprostol for medical abortion

Bibliographic details: Zou Y, Li Y P, Gan C P, Wu L, Tong L, Liang Y, Li T, Tang Y, Mei L, Yang J, Liu Y W.  Evaluation of the effectiveness of mifepristone concomitant with misoprostol for medical abortion. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2005; 5(8): 619-631

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Summaries for consumers

Mifepristone for induction of labour

Not enough evidence on the effects of mifepristone (RU 486) to induce labour.

Mifepristone for uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are also known as uterine leiomyoma, myoma or  fibromyoma and are non‐cancerous benign growths in the uterus. Fibroids are the most common benign tumours in females and are typically found during the middle and later reproductive years. Common symptoms include heavy bleeding, menstrual pain, pressure in lower abdomen, infertility or miscarriage. Fibroids can be treated with surgery using either myomectomy (removal of fibroids leaving the uterus in place) or hysterectomy (removal of uterus). Drugs such as mifepristone have been suggested as a therapeutic option. This review includes three trials and 112 women with uterine fibroids under mifepristone treatment. These clinical trials included a small number of participants and show limited methodological quality. The studies included in this review show that mifepristone had a moderate effect in relief of bleeding and showed an improvement in fibroid‐specific quality of life. Determination of the effects of mifepristone on uterine fibroid volume requires much larger trials to draw a confident conclusion for mifepristone in clinical use.

Abortion after three months of pregnancy can be done by an operation or with medicines. This review looked at which way is better.

We did computer searches to find studies that compared any operation to any medicine used for abortion at this stage of pregnancy. We wrote to researchers and looked through book chapters and other articles to find more studies.

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