The key difference between misoprostol and mifepristone is that misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin used in medical abortions, while mifepristone is a synthetic steroid used in medical abortions.
A medical abortion occurs when drugs are used to bring about an abortion. Normally, they are an alternative to vacuum aspiration or dilation and curettage. Medical abortion is more common in places like Europe, India, China, and United States. Moreover, they are generally performed by using a two-drug combination: mifepristone followed by misoprostol. When mifepristone is not available, misoprostol can be used alone in some medical abortion situations.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Misoprostol
3. What is Mifepristone
4. Similarities – Misoprostol and Mifepristone
5. Misoprostol vs Mifepristone in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Misoprostol vs Mifepristone
What is Misoprostol?
Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin used in medical abortions. It is also useful in preventing and treating stomach and duodenal ulcers, inducing labor, and treating postpartum bleeding due to poor contraction of the uterus. It is a synthetic prostaglandin E1 (PGE1). When used in gastric ulcers, it is taken by mouth. For abortions, it is used by itself or in combination with mifepristone or methotrexate. By itself, misoprostol has an effectiveness of 66 % and 90 % for abortions. For labor induction or abortion, it is taken orally or placed in the vagina. Moreover, in case of postpartum bleeding, it can be used rectally.
The common side effects of using this drug are diarrhea, abdominal pain, birth defects, uterine rupture, abdominal pain, nausea, headache, flatulence, dyspepsia, vomiting, and constipation. Misoprostol should not be used if people are allergic to this drug or other prostaglandins. Therefore, misoprostol is placed in the pregnancy X category by FDA. This drug was first developed in 1973. However, misoprostol was FDA-approved in 1973. It is also currently on the World Health organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
What is Mifepristone?
Mifepristone is a medication used in combination with drugs like misoprostol and methotrexate to bring about a medical abortion during pregnancy and manage early miscarriage. It is also known RU-486. With combinations, mifepristone is 97% effective for abortions during 63 days of pregnancy. Mifepristone is usually taken orally. Common side effects of this drug include abdominal pain, feeling tired, vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, fatigue, and fever. The serious side effects may include vaginal bleeding, bacterial infection, and birth defects.
Mifepristone is an antiprogestogen and works by blocking the effects of progesterone, making both the cervix and uterine vessels dilate. This causes uterine contraction. Mifepristone was first developed in 1980 and came into use in France in 1987. It became available in the United States in 2000. Furthermore, this drug is also on the World Health organization’s List of Essential Medicines. However, the cost and availability limit access to mifepristone in many parts of developing countries.
What are the Similarities Between Misoprostol and Mifepristone?
- Misoprostol and mifepristone are two drugs that are used in medical abortions.
- They are used in combination.
- Both drugs cause side effects.
- Both drugs are in the synthetic form.
- They are on the World Health organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
What is the Difference Between Misoprostol and Mifepristone?
Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin used in medical abortions, while mifepristone is a synthetic steroid used in medical abortions. Thus, this is the key difference between misoprostol and mifepristone. Furthermore, misoprostol was developed in 1973, while mifepristone was first developed in 1980.
The below infographic presents the differences between misoprostol and mifepristone in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Misoprostol vs Mifepristone
Medical abortion is a procedure that uses drugs to bring about an abortion. Misoprostol and mifepristone are two drugs used in medical abortions. Misoprostol is a synthetic prostaglandin, while mifepristone is a synthetic steroid. So, this is the key difference between misoprostol and mifepristone.