Abortion pills, including mifepristone, are still legal and available through Hey Jane.

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What is mifepristone?

Mifepristone is a medication typically used in combination with misoprostol to bring about an abortion during pregnancy. Learn more about how this drug is used, the side effects, and more.

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Mifepristone, sometimes called Mifeprex or RU-486, is a common medication used in medication abortion treatment. During a medication abortion, mifepristone is the first of two medicines that one would take to complete the treatment. When taken together, mifepristone, along with the second medicine (misoprostol), are up to 98% effective at ending a pregnancy up to 11 weeks. Mifepristone is safe, FDA-approved, and has been used in the United States for abortion treatment for over 20 years.  

What does mifepristone do?

Mifepristone is an oral medication used to induce abortion. Mifepristone blocks the hormone progesterone, which is a hormone that is needed to continue a pregnancy. Blocking progesterone causes the pregnancy to stop growing. The second medication used for medication abortion treatment, misoprostol, is taken 1-2 days after mifepristone. Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus and complete the abortion. 

What is mifepristone used for?

Mifepristone is used in medication abortion to end pregnancies up to 11 weeks gestational age. By blocking the hormone progesterone, mifepristone ends the pregnancy. Mifepristone, along with misoprostol, is also used to medically manage miscarriages, especially in cases of missed miscarriage where a developing pregnancy has no electrical activity but there’s been no bleeding or cramping.

What are the negative effects of mifepristone?

Mifepristone may cause side effects like chills, dizziness, headache, and stomach cramps. More severe side effects requiring medical attention include allergic reactions, heavy vaginal bleeding, a high fever, stomach pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What are the side effects of mifepristone?

Most of the time, people feel fine after taking mifepristone. Some people have mild cramping or bleeding. Either way, it’s fine—whether you have bleeding or not. You must take the second medication, misoprostol, even if you have started bleeding after taking mifepristone. 

Some other uncommon side effects of mifepristone include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

Serious side effects are very rare, occurring in less than 0.5% of people taking this medication alone. (And this number is even lower for Hey Jane patients, occurring in less than .16% of patients.) Vaginal bleeding or spotting is normal for up to 30 days following a medication abortion treatment, but if you’re bleeding through more than two pads an hour (edge to edge) for at least two hours in a row, or if you otherwise feel ill, contact your provider. If other side effects increase in intensity or return, you should also speak with your provider to ensure there are no complications.

For more information on side effects following taking mifepristone or having a medication abortion, visit:

What is a medication abortion?

A medication abortion is a medical procedure that generally involves taking two medications, mifepristone and misoprostol, to stop a pregnancy’s growth and expel the contents of the uterus, similar to an early miscarriage. Medication abortion is typically performed before 10 weeks in gestational age, and often feels like a heavy, crampy period.

Many people choose medication abortion over a procedural option because they prefer to have their abortion at home or in another comfortable setting, sometimes without a visit to a clinic. Medication abortion feels more natural than the procedural option for some people, as well. The reason why people choose which option is best for them is a very personal choice that only they can make.

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To proceed with medication abortion, you’ll generally begin by calculating your gestational age either via last missed period date, ultrasound, or by using date of conception. A provider would then get a good picture of your health history before prescribing you the FDA-approved abortion medications. 

How quickly is mifepristone absorbed?

It can take 1-2 hours for the oral administration of a 200—or 600-milligram (mg) mifepristone tablet to be absorbed by the body.

How long does a medication abortion take?

A medication abortion takes between 1-3 days to complete but some symptoms, like vaginal bleeding or spotting, may last for a few weeks after the treatment is over. First, you’ll connect with a provider—either in person or virtually—who’ll prescribe the abortion medications. Next, you’ll take one tablet, mifepristone. Some people experience vaginal bleeding or cramping after this first medication alone, some people don’t; both are okay. Either way, you must take the second medicine (misoprostol).

Between 24-48 hours after taking mifepristone, you’ll take four tablets of misoprostol, a medication that causes uterine cramping and bleeding to empty the uterus. Generally, you’ll experience vaginal bleeding within about 6-24 hours after taking the misoprostol, and heavy bleeding can last for a few hours. The amount you bleed will vary depending on your gestational age.

Recent studies have found that medication abortion via telehealth is just as safe and effective as medication abortion via in-clinic care. Additional evidence supports that pregnant people are able to self-manage medication abortion treatment without a clinic visit, especially if they have ample information about what to expect before, during, and after. In some cases, a follow up may be necessary to confirm that the treatment was successful or to rule out complications should there be any ongoing issues following the procedure.

What is a procedural abortion?

Procedural abortions are performed in a clinic or hospital and are 99% effective in ending a pregnancy. You may hear a procedural abortion referred to as a "surgical abortion" but that is not quite accurate.

In the majority of procedural abortions, the pregnancy is removed from the uterus using light suction (which is why they're sometimes called a suction or aspiration procedure). These procedures are used in pregnancies up to 14-16 weeks after your last menstrual period. 

A procedural abortion after 16 weeks is usually done with a dilation and evacuation procedure. This procedure generally involves cervical dilation, but does not require cutting or scraping.

How long can I wait to have an abortion?

The sooner you make a decision regarding your pregnancy, the more options you’ll have for treatment. Your options can vary depending on your gestational age and the laws of your state. 

Medication abortions are generally not performed after 11-12 weeks after your last menstrual period, so if you prefer that route, you’ll need to make your decision before the end of the first trimester. Some states have restrictions on medication abortions, so moving forward with a medication abortion prior to 10 weeks gestational age is recommended. After that, you’ll require a procedural abortion, the allowed timing of which may vary by state. 

Procedural abortions generally offer more time but it’s good to check the laws of your state to ensure you’re a candidate. You can visit this website here to determine the options in your state.

Buying mifepristone and misoprostol together online?

Mifepristone is an important component in medication abortion because it essentially ends the pregnancy and increases the success of the treatment. Blocking progesterone stops the pregnancy's growth and makes the task of misoprostol, the emptying of the contents of the uterus, easier. Misoprostol, is taken 1-2 days following the mifepristone and generally encourages heavy cramping and vaginal bleeding in a few hours.

If you’re looking for how to get misoprostol and mifepristone online to complete your medication abortion safely and completely, we recomend using a trustworthy online telehealth service. 

Hey Jane makes getting mifepristone and misoprostol together affordable and simple by offering medication abortion services online via secure chat with one of our medical providers. Begin by confirming that you’re eligible for a medication abortion. Next, you’ll connect with a provider and we’ll get a good picture of your needs, prescribe your medications, and answer any questions you might have.

How to get an abortion at home

Medication abortion now accounts for more than half of all abortions in the US, with 1 in 6 abortions done via telehealth. Laws around using telehealth services to begin your medication abortion process change frequently, which you can learn about here (or find more options available to you here)

Hey Jane provides fast, safe, effective telehealth medication abortion sevices. Confirm that you can get to an eligible state here and you'll be able to consult with a provider within 1 business day. If approved, we’ll send your medications to the address of your choice (as long it’s in one of the states where we’re operating) in an unmarked box to protect your privacy. They should arrive on your doorstep in 1-5 business days, depending on your shipping method.

For more information, check out our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to common questions, as well as our state-by-state guide.

Why Hey Jane cares

Hey Jane supports those seeking options for their pregnancy and aims to make patients feel informed about their choices. We offer loads of resources and provide accurate information about abortion and the process.

By offering telehealth abortion services and abortion pills online, we eliminate the need to find and get to an in-person clinic—which can be difficult, especially as the number of abortion clinics declines and wait times increase. 

We also offer different ways to pay, from using your insurance to HSA/FSA funds, and offer financial assistance to those who can’t afford our abortion services, through our abortion fund partner program. Plus, all Hey Jane patients have an automatic support network through The Lounge, our private peer-to-peer community forum available to patients past and present.

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Written by

Sally Rashid, RN BSN

Sally Rashid is a Registered Nurse and writer living in Detroit, Michigan. She has worked in reproductive care for a decade as a doula, nurse, and advocate for abortion access. Sally was a 2020 winner of Yes, And Laughter Lab's competitive incubation program for her work as writer and co-creator of Darling, a dark comedy about an abortion clinic at constant risk of closure. On top of writing for the beauty and healthcare industries, Sally is an all-around creative lady who loves music, making connections, and chilling with her two cats.

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