RU-486: A new morning after pill?
What is it?
RU-486 is commonly known as the "abortion pill," and is usually
used to terminate pregnancy.
RU-486 as a Contraceptive
A recent study has shown that RU-486 is useful in emergency
contraception when taken as much as 5 days after unprotected
sex. Previous studies had shown that RU-486 was effective in
preventing pregnancy when taken within 3 days of unprotected sex.
The study included 1,717 women who used mifepristone (RU-486)
within 5 days of unprotected sex. The women were divided into
three groups. One group took 600 milligrams of the drug (the usual
dose), another group took 50 milligrams, and a third group took
only 10 milligrams. Apparently, all three groups experienced
pregnancy rates of about 1.2%, which is fairly low. There was no
significant variation between the groups in pregnancy rates, but
those women who took 10 milligrams instead of the usual 600
milligrams experienced fewer disturbances in their menstrual
Sounds Great! Where can it be found?
So, it sounds like a great deal, doesn't it? After unprotected sex,
you would have 5 days before you have to make sure you take a
pill to prevent pregnancy. Well, although the FDA has deemed
RU-486 to be "approvable," no American manufacturer had
committed to making and distributing it until recently. Most
pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. have backed away from
RU-486 due to the controversy surrounding its use as an "abortion
pill." However, you may be in luck if you wish to be able to use
RU-486 soon. The Danco Group, a pharmaceutical company
based in New York, announced recently that it has obtained a
license to manufacture and sell RU-486 in the U.S. They hope to
have it available by the end of 1999.