Clinical Outcomes and Women's Experiences before and after the Introduction of Mifepristone into Second-Trimester Medical Abortion Services in South Africa.

PLoS ONE. 2016;11(9):e0161843 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0161843

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML

 

AUTHORS

Deborah Constant
Jane Harries
Thokozile Malaba
Landon Myer
Malika Patel
Gregory Petro
Daniel Grossman

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

OBJECTIVE:To document clinical outcomes and women's experiences following the introduction of mifepristone into South African public sector second-trimester medical abortion services, and compare with historic cohorts receiving misoprostol-only. METHODS:Repeated cross-sectional observational studies documented service delivery and experiences of women undergoing second-trimester medical abortion in public sector hospitals in the Western Cape, South Africa. Women recruited to the study in 2008 (n = 84) and 2010 (n = 58) received misoprostol only. Those recruited in 2014 (n = 208) received mifepristone and misoprostol. Consenting women were interviewed during hospitalization by study fieldworkers with respect to socio-demographic information, reproductive history, and their experiences with the abortion. Clinical details were extracted from medical charts following discharge. Telephone follow-up interviews to record delayed complications were conducted 2-4 weeks after discharge for the 2014 cohort. RESULTS:The 2014 cohort received 200 mg mifepristone, which was self-administered 24-48 hours prior to admission. For all cohorts, following hospital admission, initial misoprostol doses were generally administered vaginally: 800 mcg in the 2014 cohort and 600 mcg in the earlier cohorts. Women received subsequent doses of misoprostol 400 mcg orally every 3-4 hours until fetal expulsion. Thereafter, uterine evacuation of placental tissue was performed as needed. With one exception, all women in all cohorts expelled the fetus. Median time-to-fetal expulsion was reduced to 8.0 hours from 14.5 hours (p<0.001) in the mifepristone compared to the 2010 misoprostol-only cohort (time of fetal expulsion was not recorded in 2008). Uterine evacuation of placental tissue using curettage or vacuum aspiration was more often performed (76% vs. 58%, p<0.001) for those receiving mifepristone; major complication rates were unchanged. Hospitalization duration and extreme pain levels were reduced (p<0.001), but side effects of medication were similar or more common for the mifepristone cohort. Overall satisfaction remained unchanged (95% vs. 91%), while other acceptability measures were higher (p<0.001) for the mifepristone compared to the misoprostol-only cohorts. CONCLUSION:The introduction of a combined mifepristone-misoprostol regimen into public sector second-trimester medical abortion services in South Africa has been successful with shorter time-to-abortion events, less extreme pain and greater acceptability for women. High rates of uterine evacuation for placental tissue need to be addressed.