How safe are the abortion pills compared to other common drugs?

How safe are the abortion pills compared to other common drugs?

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court protected the use of the abortion pill by freezing lower court rulings that might have limited its use.

Medication abortions nationwide are in jeopardy, with the Supreme Court saying Wednesday it will hear a challenge to a widely used abortion drug and make a possible decision in July. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court protected lower court rulings by freezing access to abortion drugs that would limit their use. The high court struck down the constitutional right to abortion in 2022, leaving regulation of the procedure to the states. For now, the use of mifepristone, the drug at the center of the case and the first drug given during medical abortion, remains unchanged. A CNN analysis of the data shows that mifepristone is even safer than some common low-risk prescription drugs, including penicillin and Viagra. Since its approval in 2000, five out of every 1 million people in the United States have died from mifepristone use, according to data from the Food and Drug Administration last summer. In other words, the mortality rate is 0.0005%. By comparison, penicillin, a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia, carries four times the risk of death than mifepristone, according to a study of life-threatening allergic reactions. Taking Viagra, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction, increases the risk of death nearly 10 times, according to a study cited in an amicus brief filed by the FDA. Ushma Upadhyay, an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said more than 5 million people who are able to conceive have been using it for more than 20 years. Its safety has been well proven. The court’s disregard of established scientific facts in favor of speculative accusations and ideological assertions will cause harm to our patients and harm the nation’s health,” said Dr. Jack Resneck, Jr., president of the association. The American Medical Association said in a statement in April. By rejecting medical facts, the courts intrude into the examination room and interfere with decisions that belong to patients and doctors. Weighing Medical Abortion vs. Alternatives Medical abortion has become the most common abortion method, accounting for more than half of all abortions in the United States in 2021 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, medical abortion is growing in popularity, largely because of its Accessibility, said Abigail Aiken, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin who leads the medical abortion research group. She said it reduces costs and reduces barriers where people might not want to go to a clinic. It is also a safer option than procedural abortion or childbirth. According to a study conducted by Upadhyay in 2015, the incidence of major complications such as bleeding or infection from medical abortion is about one in three percent. This means that 35 out of more than 11,000 cases developed any serious complications. According to the same study, procedural abortions performed in or after the second trimester were slightly more likely to have serious complications than medical abortions, at 0.41 percent. Childbirth had by far the highest risk at 1.3%. Aiken told CNN in April that if the use of mifepristone was cut off, abortion clinics and telemedicine groups might switch to misoprostol-only abortions. She said that while misoprostol-only abortions are used around the world, they are less effective, carry a higher risk of serious complications and are often more painful than the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol. In a study of self-administered misoprostol-only abortions, Johnson found that misoprostol-only abortions were a safe alternative, but not as safe as using both drugs together. The study, published in February, analyzed 2020 data from online telemedicine abortion drug provider Aid Access. Nearly 90% of 568 users reported completing an abortion, and 2% experienced serious complications using misoprostol alone. Mifepristone, along with misoprostol, is still considered the gold standard, Aiken told CNN. Patients who took the two-drug combination were less likely to have serious complications than those who took misoprostol alone. It’s clear that people can use these drugs (mifepristone and misoprostol) very safely at home, even without the help of a medical professional, Aiken said. Johnson told CNN in April that because misoprostol is used to treat a variety of conditions, including stomach ulcers, it’s easy to stock in pharmacies and is unlikely to be removed from the market anytime soon. Down. However, less effective methods mean more people are likely to develop the condition. Unsuccessful abortion. It may not work for some people and prolong the time it takes for them to have an abortion, Upadhyay said. Then, when they return to the clinic, they seek abortions later in the pregnancy. In addition to 14 states that have almost complete bans on abortion, 15 other states have enacted laws restricting medical abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Access to medical abortion is in jeopardy across the country, with the Supreme Court saying Wednesday it will hear a challenge to a widely used abortion drug and prepare for a possible decision in July.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court protected the use of the abortion pill by freezing lower court rulings that might have limited its use. The high court struck down the constitutional right to abortion in 2022, leaving regulation of the procedure to the states.

For now, access to mifepristone, the drug at the center of the case and the first drug given during a medical abortion, remains unchanged.

Data analyzed by CNN show that mifepristone is even safer than some common low-risk prescription drugs, including penicillin and Viagra. Since its approval in 2000, five out of every 1 million people in the United States have died from mifepristone use, according to data from the Food and Drug Administration last summer. That’s a mortality rate of 0.0005%.

By comparison, penicillin, a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia, carries four times the risk of death than mifepristone, according to a study of life-threatening allergic reactions. Taking Viagra, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction, increases the risk of death nearly 10 times, according to a study cited in an amicus brief filed by the FDA.

[Mifepristone] Ushma Upadhyay, an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, said more than 5 million people who are able to conceive have been using it for more than 20 years. Its security is very complete.

Dr. Jack Resneck, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement that the court ignored established scientific facts in favor of speculative accusations and ideological assertions that will cause harm to our patients and harm the nation’s health. . in April. By rejecting medical facts, the courts intrude into the examination room and interfere with decisions that belong to patients and doctors.

Weighing Medical Abortion vs. Alternatives

Medication abortion has become the most common method of abortion, accounting for more than half of all abortions in the United States in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Abigail Aiken, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the Medical Abortion Research Group, said medical abortion is becoming increasingly popular in large part because of its accessibility.

She said it reduces costs and reduces barriers where people might not want to go to a clinic.

It is also a safer option than procedural abortion or childbirth. According to a study conducted by Upadhyay in 2015, the incidence of major complications such as bleeding or infection from medical abortion is about one in three percent. This means that out of more than 11,000 cases, 35 developed serious complications.

According to the same study, procedural abortions performed in or after the second trimester were slightly more likely to have serious complications than medical abortions, at 0.41 percent. Childbirth has by far the highest risk, at 1.3%.

Aiken told CNN in April that if the use of mifepristone was cut off, abortion clinics and telemedicine groups might switch to misoprostol-only abortions. She said that although misoprostol-only abortions were used around the world, they were less effective, had a higher risk of serious complications and were often more painful than the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol.

In a U.S. self-administered study of misoprostol-only abortions, Johnson found that misoprostol-only abortions were a safe alternative, but not as safe as using both drugs at the same time. The study, published in February, analyzed 2020 data from online telemedicine medication abortion provider Aid Access. Nearly 90% of 568 users reported completing an abortion, and 2% experienced serious complications using misoprostol alone.

Aiken told CNN that mifepristone, along with misoprostol, is still considered the gold standard. Patients who took the two-drug combination were less likely to have serious complications than those who took misoprostol alone.

Aiken said it’s clear that people can use these drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, very safely at home, even without the help of a medical professional.

Johnson told CNN in April that because misoprostol is used to treat a variety of conditions, including stomach ulcers, it’s easy to stock in pharmacies and is unlikely to be removed from the market anytime soon. Down.

However, less effective methods mean more people are likely to have failed abortions.

It may not work for some people and prolong the time it takes for them to have an abortion, Upadhyay said. Then, when they return to the clinic, they are seeking an abortion late in their pregnancy.

In addition to 14 states with near-total abortion bans, 15 other states have enacted laws restricting medical abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

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