The doctor-prescribed RU-486 abortion pill, more commonly known as mifepristone, will soon be available in Canada.
Health Canada approved the drug on Monday years after the manufacturer, Linepharma International, applied for the drug’s availability. Canada is not the first nation to approve the orally-taken medication to terminate pregnancy; France has had the drug for 25 years and the United States since 2000.
RU-486’s brand name will be Mifegysimo and will actually be two medications – 0.2 mg of misoprostol and 200 mg of mifepristone.
Mifegysimio will be used to terminate pregnancies of up to 49 days gestation. A doctor will administer the dosage of mifepristone to block the progesterone needed for pregnancy, then two days later will administer another dosage of misoprostol to induce contractions in order to expel the fetus.
In Canada, the drug will be available for pregnancies with a gestational age up to 49 days as measured from the first day of the last menstrual period based on a standard 28-day cycle. It will only be accessed by prescription and dispensed by a physician.
Health Canada reports the side effects of taking Mifegysimo include vaginal bleeding, pain and cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever or chills, headache, dizziness and weakness.
Like many drugs, there exists a sort of black market for what many people call the “abortion pill”. Called Mifegyne in the U.S., the pill can be bought online through various illegitimate websites, especially for use in countries where abortion is currently illegal or social unacceptable.