Self-administration of abortion inducing drugs is probably as effective as provider administration

Added July 14, 2020

Citation: Gambir K, Kim C, Necastro KA, et al. Self‐administered versus provider‐administered medical abortion. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020 (3).CD013181.

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare services, workers and patients. Some women may be unable to access relevant services and may therefore choose to self-administer medical abortion.

In this Cochrane review, the authors searched for randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies of self-administered abortion in female patients. They did not restrict their searches by language or date of publication and did the search in July 2019. They included 18 studies (total: 11,043 women) including prospective cohort studies (16) and randomized controlled trials (2) from Africa (3 studies), East Asia (4), Europe (4), and Southeast Asia (7). They also identified an additional 10 ongoing studies.

What works: The use of self-administered misoprostol is highly effective at terminating the pregnancy and probably provides comparable effectiveness to provider-administered abortion.

Most users of self-administered abortions are satisfied with the procedure.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: Evidence about important safety outcomes remains uncertain due to poor reporting in the trials.


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