Medical regimens using mifepristone in combination with prostaglandins have been widely available for women undergoing termination of pregnancy (TOP) at 10–16 weeks’ gestation in China. We undertook a systematic review to compare different regimens of mifepristone with prostaglandins for TOP at 10–16 weeks’ gestation.
We searched multiple electronic databases for English and Chinese language reports (1990–2007) including MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database. Included were trials comparing mifepristone with prostaglandins (misoprostol, gemeprost or carboprost (PG05)) to each other for women at 10–16 weeks’ gestation. Outcomes were successful abortion rates, induction-to-expulsion time, blood loss and side effects. Data were processed with RevMan 5 software.
Nineteen trials comparing mifepristone with prostaglandin (misoprostol and PG05) were found of which 14 contributed to meta-analyses (4206 women). The quality of reports was poor. The effectiveness of vaginal mifepristone/misoprostol was super than mifepristone/PG05 (RR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05–1.22) as was induction-to-expulsion time, blood loss and side effects. When comparing misoprostol/mifepristone 150mg to misoprostol/mifepristone 200mg, no difference in TOP success rates were found (RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.96–1.01). Misoprostol vaginally compared to orally significantly increased the TOP success rate (RR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.24). Gastrointestinal symptoms and fever occurred more often in misoprostol oral group (RR 1.67, 95% CI 1.46–1.91).
Medical regimens of mifepristone/prostaglandins were effective and safe for TOP at 10–16 weeks’ gestation. Misoprostol was super than PG05, and misoprostol vaginally was found to have better effectiveness than misoprostol orally. Further research should evaluate the relative effectiveness of medical methods compared to surgery.