January 2023

Safety and effectiveness of self-managed abortion using misoprostol alone acquired from an online telemedicine service in the United States

Johnson DM, Michels-Gualtieri M,  Gomperts R, Aiken ARA. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Jan 2023. DOI: 10.1363/psrh.12219

To evaluate self-reported outcomes and serious adverse events following self-managed medication abortion using misoprostol alone provided from an online service.

Study design
We conducted a retrospective record review of self-managed abortion outcomes using misoprostol obtained from Aid Access, an online telemedicine organization serving United States (US) residents, between June 1, 2020, and June 30, 2020. The main outcomes were the proportion of people who reported ending their pregnancy without instrumentation intervention and the proportion who received treatment for serious adverse events.

During the study period, 1016 people received prescriptions for misoprostol. We obtained follow-up information for 610 (60%) of whom 568 confirmed use of the medication and 42 confirmed non-use. When taking the medication, 96% were at or less than 10 weeks’ gestation and 4% were more than 10 weeks. Overall, 88% (95% CI: 84.6–90.2) reported successfully ending their pregnancy without instrumentation intervention. Of the 568 who took the misoprostol, 12 (2%) reported experiencing one or more serious adverse events and 20 (4%) reported experiencing a symptom of a potential complication.

Self-managed medication abortion using misoprostol provided by an online telemedicine service has a high rate of effectiveness and a low rate of serious adverse events. Outcomes compare favorably to other service delivery models usinga similar regimen. As mifepristone continues to be over-regulated and the 2022 US Supreme Court ruling allows states to severely restrict access to in-clinic abortion care, this regimen is a promising option for self-managed abortion in the US.

Tagged with Abortion, United States