A randomized trial comparing misoprostol three and seven days after methotrexate for early abortion

Mitchell D Creinin, Eric Vittinghoff, Stephanie Galbraith, Cynthia Klaisle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: Our purpose was to determine whether vaginal misoprostol 7 days rather than 3 days after methotrexate injection increases the percent of successful abortions on the day of misoprostol administration. STUDY DESIGN: A randomized controlled trial was performed in women requesting an abortion at ≤56 days' gestation. Eighty-six women were treated with methotrexate 50 mg/m2 intramuscularly followed 3 days (group 1) or 7 days (group 2) later by vaginal misoprostol 800 μg. The misoprostol dose was repeated if the abortion did not occur. RESULTS: Complete abortion occurred in 38 of 46 (83%) patients in group 1 and 39 of 40 (98%) in group 2 (p = 0.033). Of the women with complete abortions, 30 of 46 (65%) in group 1 and 27 of 40 (68%) in group 2 aborted the same day as the first or second dose of misoprostol (p = 0.823). Vaginal bleeding lasted 14 ± 5 (mean ± SD) days in group 1 and 17 ± 9 days in group 2. The remaining women aborted after a delay of 24 ± 6 days in group 1 and 28 ± 13 days in group 2. For these women vaginal bleeding lasted 18 ± 17 and 14 ± 7 days, respectively, and the human chorionic gonadotropin-β level was ≤ 25 IU/L by 22 ± 7 days after the abortion in group 1 and 19 ± 9 days in group 2. Treatment failures in group 1 were four continuing pregnancies (9%), two incomplete abortions (4%), and two women who requested surgical termination after receiving both medications (4%). The treatment failure in group 2 was an incomplete abortion. Methotrexate and misoprostol side effects were infrequent. CONCLUSIONS: Methotrexate and vaginal misoprostol are more effective abortifacients when the misoprostol is given 7 days rather than 3 days after methotrexate. This treatment regimen may offer an alternative to surgical abortion or the use of antiprogestins and prostaglandin for medical abortion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1578-1584
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1995


  • abortion
  • Methotrexate
  • misoprostol
  • vaginal ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'A randomized trial comparing misoprostol three and seven days after methotrexate for early abortion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this