Is It Safe to Provide Abortion Pills over the Counter? A Study on Outcome Following Self-Medication with Abortion PillsCorrespondence Address :
Dr. Fatima Shanthini,
Sri Manakulavinayagar Medical College & Hospital, Kalitheerthalkuppam-605107, Puducherry, India.
Phone: 91-8056767999, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Background: Medical abortion is a safe method of termination of pregnancy when performed as per guidelines with a success rate of 92-97 %. But self-administration of abortion pills is rampant throughout the country due to over the counter availability of these drugs and complications are not uncommon due to this practice. The society perceives unsupervised medical abortion as a very safe method of termination and women use this as a method of spacing.
Aim of the Study: The aim of this study was to study the implications of self-administration of abortion pills by pregnant women.
Materials and Methods: Retrospective observational study done in Sri Manakula Vinayagar Medical College & Hospital between the period of July 2013 to June2014. Case sheets were analysed to obtain data regarding self-administration of abortion pills and complications secondary to its administration. The following data were collected. Age, marital status, parity, duration of pregnancy as perceived by the women, confirmation of pregnancy, duration between pill intake and visit to hospital, whether any intervention done elsewhere, any known medical or surgical complications, Hb level on admission, whether patient was in shock, USG findings, evidence of sepsis, blood transfusion, treatment given and duration of hospital stay. Descriptive analysis of the collected data was done.
Results:Among the 128 cases of abortion in the study period, 40 (31.25%) patients had self-administered abortion pills. Among these 40 patients 27.5% had consumed abortion pills after the approved time period of 63 days of which 17.5% had consumed pills after 12 weeks of gestation. The most common presentation was excessive bleeding (77.5%) Severe anaemia was found in 12.5% of the patients and 5% of patients presented with shock. The outcome was as follows : 62.5% of the patients were found to have incomplete abortion, 22.5% had failed abortion and 7.5% of patients had incomplete abortion with sepsis. Surgical evacuation was performed in 67.5% of the patients whereas 12.5% of the patients required surgical evacuation with blood transfusion. Medical methods were used in 15% of the patients whereas 2.5% required transfusion along with medical methods.
Conclusion: Unsupervised medical abortion can lead to increased maternal morbidity and mortality. To curtail this harmful practice, strict legislations are required to monitor and also to restrict the sales of abortion pills over the counter and access to abortion pills for the public should be only through centers approved for MTP. Large scale prospective studies are required to assess the actual magnitude of this problem.
Complications, Medical abortion, Self-administration, Unsafe abortion
Date of Submission: Oct 10, 2014
Date of Peer Review: Nov 13, 2014
Date of Acceptance: Nov 18, 2014
Date of Publishing: Jan 01, 2015
Financial OR OTHER COMPETING INTERESTS: None.
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