Abortion Procedure – Methotrexate & Misoprostol (MTX)

MTX is a medical (or chemical) abortion procedure and is used up to the first 9 weeks of pregnancy. This procedure is not as commonly used as in the past because of the availability of mifepristone.

Methotrexate is given orally or by injection during the first office visit.

Antibiotics are also given in order to prevent infection.

Misoprostol tablets are given orally or inserted vaginally about 3 to 7 days later. This can be done at home.

This procedure will usually trigger contractions and expel the fetus. The process may take a few hours or as long as a few days.

A physical exam is given a week later to ensure that the abortion procedure is complete and to check for complications.

Methotrexate is primarily used in the treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis because it attacks the most rapidly growing cells in the body. In the case of abortion, it causes the fetus and placenta to separate from the lining of the uterus. Using the drug for this purpose is not approved by the FDA.

The side effects and risks of Methotrexate & Misoprostol include the following:

  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavy Bleeding
  • Fever

The procedure is unsuccessful approximately 5% of the time with the potential of requiring an additional surgical abortion procedure to complete the termination.

It is not advised for women who have anemia, bleeding disorders, liver or kidney disease, seizure disorder, acute inflammatory bowel disease, or who use an intrauterine device (IUD).

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