Some active agents induce the uterus to contract, which causes expulsion of an embryo or foetus. The most important of such substances used in pharmaceuticals are the prostaglandins.
Their effectiveness can be increased when the progesterone receptor antagonist Mifegyne® (mifepristone/RU-486) is administered first. Mifegyne® causes the cervix to open, thereby facilitating ejection.
The ‘medical abortion’ made possible by this drug is now regarded in almost all Western countries as a safe and effective treatment.
Mifegyne®, developed in France in 1980 by Prof. Étienne-Émile Baulieu, was approved for use in that country in 1988, the first to do so.
Abortion pills in white packaging with green lettering. The package contains three loose 200 mg tablets.