Monday, August 30, 2010

Texas Women Going to Mexico for Misoprostol

Misoprostol, brand name Cytotec.

And why not? According to a report in the Nation:
For most women in the United States, this would mean a trip to a doctor or abortion clinic. But where Diana lives, in Brownsville, Texas, just north of the border, Mexican pharmacies are only a few miles away. Items said to be abortifacients—including pills, teas and shots—are well-known to be cheap and accessible just across the bridge. Misoprostol, a pill that makes up half of the two-drug combination prescribed for medical abortions in the United States, is easy to purchase over the counter in Mexico because of its effectiveness in treating ulcers. When used alone and taken correctly, it will produce a miscarriage between 80 and 85 percent of the time.
Sounds like our "open borders" aren't all bad after all. According to Managing Contraception, Early Medical Abortion with Misoprostol Alone:
Misoprostol, when used without mifepristone or MTX, can cause abortion after 1-3 doses in women up to 56 days gestation. Treatment regimens typically include MIS 800 mcg vaginally at intervals ranging from every 8 hours to every 24 hours. Efficacy rates are generally around 70% with one dose of misoprostol, 80% after two doses and near 90% after three doses. Given the existence and availability of safe alternative regimens, MIS alone is generally not recommended for medical abortion. However, in situations where mifepristone is not unavailable, MIS alone is an option." (p. 36, 2010-2012 edition)
Surely the authors didn't think that south Texas would be such a good market for MIS, but here we are. If one were to get their hands on a prescription for Cytotec or Misoprostol, that's how you'd use it. And how interesting that it's significantly cheaper when presumptively prescribed for "ulcers" instead of "medical abortion." You can buy a bottle of 60 200 mcg tablets of generic MIS from for a mere $56.99; a "medical abortion" at a clinic will cost you about $500. There is evidence that home use of misoprostol, with instructions from a physician, is safe and effective.

As the old saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail.

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