RU 486 stands for Roussel Uclaf Company. It was first manufactured in this company by a chemist called Georges Teutsch in April, 1980. His aim was to synthesize a compound which could function as a glucorticoid receptor antagonist. Later on it was discovered to be a progesterone receptor antagonist. It is also known as Mifepristone and is marketed as Mifegyne and Mifeprex. It is a steroid compound and is synthetically manufactured. It is commonly used to induce abortions in the first two months of pregnancy and needs to be used in higher doses in order to successfully induce abortions. In smaller doses this compound has been used as an emergency contraceptive pill. It is available in the tablet form, as 200 mg tablets.
Uses of RU 486:
It acts as a progesterone receptor antagonist, which means that it blocks the action of naturally occurring progesterone hormone in your body. Progesterone is important for the development and maintenance of the integrity of your endometrium. If there is a decrease in the amounts of progesterone available, the endometrium cannot be maintained and begins the process of self destruction. Thus progesterone is extremely essential to maintain and continue pregnancy. Once you take RU 486, the natural progesterone is your body is stopped from acting on your endometrium, which then degenerates and sheds. The endometrium provides nourishment to the developing fetus through the placenta. Once the endometrium shrinks, there is a decreased blood supply to the developing fetus and this leads to death and subsequently abortion.
It is used in termination of intrauterine pregnancies up to around 49 days of gestation. Between 13 to 24 weeks of gestation it can be used for termination of pregnancy along with Gemeprost. It is used to induce labour following intrauterine death of fetus. It acts as a contraceptive and can successfully prevent pregnancy if taken following intercourse but before ovulation occurs. Before dilatation and curettage in order to terminate pregnancy, it is used to soften and dilate the cervix. It is used in the treatment of endometriosis, uterine fibroids, depression, breast cancer, glaucoma, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and meningiomas. It is also used in the treatment of Cushing’s syndrome.
Side effects of RU 486:
Following administration of RU 486 for abortions, many women suffer from uterine cramps, abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding or spotting which could last for about 9 to 16 days, after the abortion. Some women may be allergic to the compound and develop swelling over the face, lips, mouth, and difficulty in breathing. If you experience any such allergic symptoms you must promptly report to your doctor. Some women suffer from nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, fatigue and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Contraindications to usage of RU 486: You must not use this compound if you have an intrauterine device in situ, or are suffering from adrenal failure, ectopic pregnancy, hemorrhagic disorders – bleeding disorders, inherited porphyrias or are taking corticosteroids for a long period of time or anticoagulant medications which will prolong the duration of any bleeding.
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