On 29 July 2015, Health Canada approved the use of the medical abortion drug RU-486 (also known as Mifepristone). In Canada, the Mifepristone (RU-486) and Misoprostol drug regimen is sold under the name Mifegymiso. The medication started to become available to the public in January 2017. Here are some frequently asked questions about Mifegymiso and medical abortion.
What is medical abortion?
Medical abortion uses medication rather than surgery to end a pregnancy. It can only be used early in a pregnancy. In Canada, it is offered up to seven weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period.
Where can I obtain a medical abortion?
Right now, medical abortion is not widely available in Canada but is offered in some clinics and hospitals. Click here to find your nearest provider or call Action Canada’s toll-free Access Line at 1-888-642-2725.
What is Mifepristone?
Mifepristone is an anti-hormone used to end a pregnancy. The Mifepristone and Misoprostol regimen is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs. It is considered the “gold standard” for medical abortion.
How does Mifepristone work?
Mifegymiso is the Canadian brand name for the combination of the medications Mifepristone and Misoprostol. Mifepristone is a medication that blocks the effect of progesterone, a hormone that is needed for a pregnancy to continue. Misoprostol is a prostaglandin and causes contractions of the uterus and relaxation of the cervix. This helps push out the contents of the uterus. Mifepristone and Misoprostol work together to end a pregnancy.
In Canada, Mifepristone is packaged in a combination box, 1- Mifepristone 200Mg tablet and 4 – 0.2Mg Misoprostol tablets. First a Mifepristone tablet is taken and then 24 to 48 hours later, Misoprostol tablets are taken. 4 Misoprostol tablets are taken at the same time.
The Mifepristone and Misoprostol regimen is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential drugs. It is considered the “gold standard” for medical abortion.
Is Mifepristone safe?
Mifepristone is already available in 60 countries. Its use was approved in France and in China since 1988 (almost 30 years ago) and has maintained an outstanding safety record throughout the world. In many countries, it is used safely up to 10 weeks of pregnancy and beyond. Just like surgical abortion, trained providers offer the procedure under high quality conditions, which highly diminish the risk of possible complications.
When can I use Mifegymiso?
In Canada, Mifegymiso can currently be prescribed up until 7 weeks gestation (or 49 days) for on-label use. Physicians can prescribe it off-label up to 10 weeks of gestation as it has been used safely and effectively up to that gestational age and beyond.
When will Mifegymiso become available in Canada?
Mifegymiso is now available in Canada although prescribers and pharmacies dispensing it are still far and few. Click here to find your nearest provider or call the Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights 24/7 toll-free Access Line at 1-888-642-2725.
How much does it cost?
Mifegymiso’s costs hovers between $300-$450 per package depending on the provider. This means that, without cost coverage, medical abortion using this combination of drugs remains inaccessible for many people in Canada.
Who covers the cost?
Currently, only three provinces have pledged universal coverage for Mifegymiso: New Brunswick, Alberta and Ontario. The Non-Insured Health Benefits will also be covering the costs of the abortion pill for First Nations people living on reserves and Inuit people. It is not yet clear when the combination of pills will effectively be available for free to those with provincial health insurance in these provinces or to NIHB patients. For those with private insurance, Mifegymiso may be covered through their plan, but people must check their specific plan offerings. For all others, Mifegymiso must be paid out of pocket.
Do I need a prescription?
What is SRH Week?
FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE:
Click the number to dial on a mobile phone.