Mifepristone

Adult Medication
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This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Korlym; Mifeprex

Warning

If using to end pregnancy:

  • Very bad infections, bleeding, or other problems may rarely happen after any type of abortion. This includes after using this drug to end pregnancy. Sometimes, these problems may be deadly.
  • Be sure you know who to call and what do if you have an emergency. This includes going to an ER (emergency room) if you cannot reach your doctor. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever that does not go away, very bad belly pain, fast heartbeat, a lot of vaginal bleeding that does not go away, or passing out.
  • If this drug does not cause a full abortion, surgery may be needed. Make sure that you know this drug, what it is for, how to use it, and when to go back to your doctor. You must agree to the abortion and surgery if needed. You must read the medication guide and sign a patient contract form.
  • If you are going to an ER (emergency room) or some other doctor, take the medication guide with you.
  • If this drug does not work in 2 days, your doctor may give you another drug. Call your doctor right away if you have stomach pain, weakness, upset stomach or throwing up, or diarrhea more than 24 hours after taking the other drug.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Use during pregnancy will cause fetal loss.
  • Do not take if you are pregnant. A pregnancy test will be done to show that you are NOT pregnant before starting this drug. Use a type of birth control that is not hormone-based while taking this drug and for 1 month after stopping this drug. Talk with your doctor.
  • If this drug is stopped for more than 14 days, another pregnancy test will need to be done. Talk with your doctor.

What is this drug used for?

  • It is used to end a pregnancy.
  • It is used to lower blood sugar in patients with Cushing’s syndrome.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

If using to end pregnancy:

  • If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Adrenal failure, bleeding problems, or porphyrias.
  • If you have a pregnancy that is not inside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
  • If you have an IUD (intrauterine device) in place.
  • If you are not able to follow what your doctor tells you for treatment to end your pregnancy or you are not able to get to an ER (emergency room) if you need one.
  • If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant.
  • If you are not able to learn or follow the Patient-Physician contract.
  • If you have a growth in the ovary, fallopian tube, or areas around these parts.
  • If you are taking a blood thinner or are on a long-term steroid, such as prednisone.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Change in the cells lining your uterus, endometrial cancer, or if you have ever had vaginal bleeding where the cause was not known.
  • If you do not have Cushing’s syndrome.
  • If you have any of these health problems: Liver disease or low potassium levels.
  • If you are taking a blood thinner or are on a long-term steroid, such as prednisone.
  • If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with this drug, like certain drugs that are used for high cholesterol, migraines, or mood problems. There are many drugs that must not be taken with this drug.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

If using to end pregnancy:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • If you drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit often, talk with your doctor.
  • You can get pregnant again right after your pregnancy ends. If you do not want to get pregnant again, start using birth control that you can trust to prevent pregnancy as soon as your pregnancy ends or before you start having sex again.
  • It is normal to have vaginal bleeding or spotting for about 9 to 16 days after using this drug. Sometimes, this has lasted for up to 30 days. Call your doctor right away if vaginal bleeding continues, if you have heavy vaginal bleeding that does not go away, or if you are worried about your vaginal bleeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also, like a condom, when taking this drug and for 1 month after the last dose.
  • If you get pregnant while taking this drug or within 1 month after your last dose, call your doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

If using to end pregnancy:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or wound that will not heal.
  • Bleeding a lot (soaking 2 pads per hour).
  • Severe stomach pain.
  • Severe diarrhea.
  • Very bad vaginal irritation.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • A fast heartbeat.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of low potassium levels like muscle pain or weakness, muscle cramps, or a heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
  • Signs of a weak adrenal gland like a severe upset stomach or throwing up, severe dizziness or passing out, muscle weakness, feeling very tired, mood changes, decreased appetite, or weight loss.
  • Vaginal bleeding that is not normal.
  • Anxiety.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Swelling in the arms or legs.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Low blood sugar can happen. The chance may be raised when this drug is used with other drugs for diabetes. Signs may be dizziness, headache, feeling sleepy or weak, shaking, fast heartbeat, confusion, hunger, or sweating. Call your doctor right away if you have any of these signs. Follow what you have been told to do for low blood sugar. This may include taking glucose tablets, liquid glucose, or some fruit juices.
  • A type of abnormal heartbeat (prolonged QT interval) can happen with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have a fast heartbeat, a heartbeat that does not feel normal, or if you pass out.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

If using to end pregnancy:

  • Feeling dizzy, tired, or weak.
  • Headache.
  • Stomach pain or diarrhea.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Stomach cramps.
  • Vaginal discharge.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired, or weak.
  • Headache.
  • Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, upset stomach, throwing up, or decreased appetite.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Heartburn.
  • Back, muscle, or joint pain.
  • Nose or throat irritation.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to your national health agency.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

If using to end pregnancy:

  • You will need to take this drug with another drug called misoprostol to pass the pregnancy. Be sure you know when and how to take misoprostol after taking this drug. Check with you doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
  • Most people will pass the pregnancy within 2 to 24 hours after taking misoprostol. During this time, you will have bleeding and cramping that will most likely be heavier than your normal period. Be sure that you take the misoprostol in a proper place so you are ready. If you have questions, talk with your doctor.
  • Follow up with the doctor as you have been told.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Take with food.
  • Swallow whole. Do not chew, break, or crush.
  • If you have trouble swallowing, talk with your doctor.
  • Keep taking this drug as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

If using to end pregnancy:

  • Call your doctor to find out what to do.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

If using to end pregnancy:

  • If you need to store this drug at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.

If using for high blood sugar:

  • Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.

All products:

  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • This drug comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time this drug is refilled. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This generalized information is a limited summary of diagnosis, treatment, and/or medication information. It is not meant to be comprehensive and should be used as a tool to help the user understand and/or assess potential diagnostic and treatment options. It does NOT include all information about conditions, treatments, medications, side effects, or risks that may apply to a specific patient. It is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a health care provider based on the health care provider’s examination and assessment of a patient’s specific and unique circumstances. Patients must speak with a health care provider for complete information about their health, medical questions, and treatment options, including any risks or benefits regarding use of medications. This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for treating a specific patient. UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates disclaim any warranty or liability relating to this information or the use thereof. The use of this information is governed by the Terms of Use, available at https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/know/clinical-effectiveness-terms.

Last Reviewed Date

2023-01-18

Copyright

© 2023 UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates and/or licensors. All rights reserved.

Last Updated

Monday, December 12, 2022