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Mifepristone is a compound that prevents the production of progesterone. Without this active hormone, the uterine lining is unable to maintain pregnancy. Additionally, it dilates the cervix, facilitating an abortion.This is part of RU 486.
Used along with misoprostol, the drugs induce a miscarriage of an existing pregnancy. These may be used nine-ten weeks after the first day of a woman's last menstrual cycle. Side effects of this indication include bleeding and cramping. More serious side effects are uncommon. The use of mifepristone and misoprostol present an alternative to an in-clinic aspiration abortion.