I just heard about Missed Period Pills – is that really a thing?

Reproductive Health

A: “Missed period pills” are the same medications used for an at-home abortion, but are taken much earlier and without confirming an actual pregnancy.

If you are a few days late for a period, it could be due to a very early pregnancy OR to a variety of other things. Stress, illness, and hormonal fluctuations are all potential culprits. In that situation, some people want to “bring down” their period, regardless of the cause. Mifepristone and misoprostol, the two prescription medications typically used for an at-home or medication abortion, can be used to do this. No matter the cause, they will bring on a period more than 90% of the time.

Also called “menstrual regulation,” this approach of bringing on a late period has been a part of reproductive health care in some countries for decades or longer. Benjamin Franklin even wrote a recipe for it in one of his books! Today, it is used in some countries where abortion itself is illegal. This is interesting, as in many cases it IS ending an early pregnancy. The only difference is that no pregnancy test is performed, so it is not known if there truly was a pregnancy or not.

The option to use mifepristone and misoprostol as “missed period pills”, is now available in five states in the U.S. (see link below). These are also places where abortion is currently legal. The medications are by prescription only and require a clinician visit, either in person or via telehealth. The pills can be obtained in advance to have on hand if needed. Following recent federal rulings, the pills can be dispensed at the clinic, picked up at a pharmacy, or sent by mail. It is currently unknown whether this method would be considered legal in states where abortion is outlawed.

In countries where “menstrual regulation” is an option, rates of illness or death from unsafe abortions are lower. Now that many states in the U.S. have outlawed abortion, there is real concern that people will turn to unsafe, “back-alley” abortions. Missed period pills could be a way to prevent that. They may also be helpful to people who either don’t want to wait to see or don’t want to even know if they’re pregnant.

A word of caution! Some internet companies are offering “Period Pills” that are only vitamins or herbal products. The medications listed above require a prescription and are only offered in certain places, so ask your clinician or visit one of the sites listed below.

Bottom Line: If you live in a place where Missed Period Pills are available, they can be an effective option to bring on a late period when you absolutely don’t want to be pregnant. We’ll likely be hearing more about this option in the months and years to come.

Be safe, stay well, and plan in advance!

Those Nerdy Girls

Further Resources:

Missed Period Pills before you need them

Information and access to Missed Period Pills

Period Pills Today

Missed Period Pill Study

Check your state laws

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