Comparing the World Health Organization- versus China-recommended protocol for first-trimester medical abortion: a retrospective analysis
Thoai D Ngo1, Min Hae Park1, Yuanhong Xiao2
1Research and Metrics Team, Health System Department, Marie Stopes International, London, UK; 2Research and Metrics Team, Marie Stopes International China, Beijing, China
Objective: To compare the effectiveness, in terms of complete abortion, of the World Health Organization (WHO)- and the China-recommended protocol for first-trimester medical abortion.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of clinical data from women presenting for first trimester medical abortion between January 2009 and August 2010 at reproductive health clinics in Qingdao, Xi’an, Nanjing, Nanning, and Zhengzhou was conducted. One clinic in Qingdao administered the WHO-recommended protocol (200 mg mifepristone orally followed by 0.8 mg misoprostol buccally 36–48 hours later). Four clinics in the other locations provided the China-recommended procedure (Day 1: 50 mg of mifepristone in the morning, 25 mg in the afternoon; Day 2: 50 mg of mifepristone in the morning, 25 mg in the afternoon; Day 3: 0.6 mg oral misoprostol). Data on reproductive and demographic characteristics were extracted from clinic records, and complete termination was determined on day 14 (post-mifepristone administration).
Results: A total of 337 women underwent early medical abortion (167 WHO- and 170 China-recommended procedures). Complete abortion was significantly higher among women who had the WHO protocol than those who received the China protocol (91.0% vs 77.7%, respectively; P < 0.001). Women using the China-recommended protocol were three times more likely to require an additional dose of misoprostol than women using the WHO protocol (21.8% vs 7.8%, respectively; P < 0.001), and had significantly more bleeding on the day of misoprostol administration (12.5 mL vs 18.5 mL; P < 0.001).
Conclusion: This clinical audit provides preliminary evidence suggesting the WHO-recommended protocol may be more effective than the China-recommended protocol for early medical abortion. A larger scale study is necessary to compare the methods’ effectiveness and acceptability.
Keywords: medical abortion, misoprostol, mifepristone, China, first-trimester termination
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