Can I get the medical abortion pill after 10 weeks?

Can I Get The Medical Abortion Pill After 10 Weeks?

Take the time to seek out answers and think through this pregnancy decision.

The “Abortion Pill” is a combination of two different medications to terminate a pregnancy. Mifepristone works by blocking progesterone from the pregnancy, and misoprostol causes cramping & bleeding to expel the pregnancy. If you’re considering getting the medical abortion pill after 10 weeks, you first need some information and an ultrasound.

Using the mifepristone and misoprostol combination in a medical abortion beyond 10 weeks gestation is not approved by the FDA. That’s calculated as 70 days since the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). Some abortion providers would have you think otherwise, though. Planned Parenthood advertises that you can take the mifepristone up to 11 weeks gestation, thus allowing the medical abortion pill after 10 weeks – despite the FDA’s guidelines.

What’s the big deal you ask?  Mifepristone is a drug in a special category called REMS – Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy. REMS is a drug safety program that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can require for certain medications with serious safety concerns. They have tightly controlled guidelines that must be practiced. They include:

1) The medication must be prescribed by a certified healthcare provider who meets certain qualifications, including signing a Prescriber Agreement Form.

2) The healthcare provider must obtain a signed Patient Agreement Form from the patient after counseling. 

3) Pharmacies that dispense mifepristone must be certified.

The FDA requires numerous tests and studies to develop an approved regimen for medication usage, and when the drugs are used outside of these national safety standards, it could be dangerous. Planned Parenthood has designed its own plan, to use the medications “off label.” They promote doubling the dose of misoprostol (the second medication involved in a medical abortion) to ensure that when a patient takes the medical abortion pill after 10 weeks the pregnancy will be completely terminated. The patient would then experience double the heavy cramping and increased bleeding with clots.

In 2021, the FDA modified the safety terms to allow the purchase of mifepristone over the internet. It was originally designed to be prescribed in person, and these safeguards were removed to allow for more access to abortion during the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Nevertheless, patients still require some laboratory tests before receiving this medication. Full disclosure of the necessary information needed includes:

1) assessment of the duration of the pregnancy

2) confirmation of no ectopic pregnancy

Other important safety considerations include:

    • Ensuring the pregnancy is viable (presence of a heartbeat)
    • Having access to surgical abortion in the case of unsuccessful termination
    • Counseling regarding the known effects of misoprostol in the event of an unsuccessful abortion
    • Blood Rh testing in case immunoglobulin needs to be administered

Medical abortion failure rates increase as the pregnancy approaches 10 weeks gestation and beyond. Medical abortions are most effective under nine weeks gestation – between 94-96%.  Medical abortion effectiveness decreases to 93% at 10 weeks. If given up to 11 weeks, the rate decreases again to 87% effective at terminating the pregnancy. Of course, if the termination is not complete, then a surgical procedure is required.

Alcove Health Women’s Clinic can provide valuable medical answers as you are trying to make a pregnancy decision. Our free and confidential services can provide you with:

1) the location of the pregnancy (ensure that it’s not ectopic)

2) the age of the pregnancy (needs to be under 10 weeks for medical abortion)

3) the viability of the pregnancy (ensure you’re not miscarrying)

4) STI testing (abortions can provide an opportune time for infections to spread into the reproductive organs & to the fetus)

5) education regarding abortion, its risks, and follow up needs

6) local medical referrals

This is your reproductive health we’re talking about. These facts are important to your physical health, your emotional health, and your finances! If you’re considering taking the medical abortion pill after 10 weeks, first take the time to seek out answers and think through this pregnancy decision. It’s a big deal – at Alcove Health, we are here to walk with you through it. Click here or call us today to schedule your no cost appointment.

By Meg, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager

April 12, 2022

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