CONTRACEPTION JOURNAL  – Efficacy of a low-sensitivity urine pregnancy test for identifying ongoing pregnancy after medication abortion at 64 to 70 days of gestation 

by Katherine C Whitehouse, Tara Shochet, Patricia Lohr

Contraception 2022;11 (June):21-26   (Not open access)


Objectives – We assessed whether a low-sensitivity pregnancy test is effective at identifying ongoing pregnancy after medication abortion at 64 to 70 days of gestation.

Study design – From October 2018 to March 2020, we performed a prospective observational study of participants in England and Wales undergoing medication abortion. Participants were scheduled to return to the clinic 14 ± 3 days after mifepristone administration to perform a low-sensitivity pregnancy test (human chorionic gonadotropin threshold of 1000 mIU/mL) and symptom checklist, and state whether they thought the abortion was complete. Clinicians also assessed the low-sensitivity pregnancy test and performed an ultrasound to determine abortion status. We calculated the sensitivity, specificity, negative and positive predictive value of the low-sensitivity pregnancy test (with and without a symptom checklist) for detecting ongoing pregnancy.

Results – We enrolled 757 participants. Thirty-one did not progress to abortion and 558 (76.9%) completed follow-up. Most (79.6%) attended per-protocol; 22 (3.9%) attended earlier than 11 days and 92 (16.5%) later than 17 days. Thirteen participants (2.3%) had an ongoing pregnancy. The low-sensitivity pregnancy test correctly identified all the ongoing pregnancies (sensitivity = 100%; specificity = 84.8%; negative predictive value = 100%; positive predictive value = 13.5%). The symptom checklist alone had a sensitivity of 76.9% and a negative predictive value of 99.4% for identifying ongoing pregnancies. Participants and clinicians agreed on the interpretation of the low-sensitivity pregnancy test 94.6% of the time.

Conclusions – Patient self-assessment of a low-sensitivity pregnancy test after medication abortion between 64- and 70 days’ gestation has high sensitivity and negative predictive value for identification of ongoing pregnancy.

Implications – Patients can be offered a low-sensitivity pregnancy test to assess for ongoing pregnancy after medication abortion up to 70 days of gestation thereby reducing the need for in-person visits. Services should be prepared to provide in-person assessments after positive or inconclusive results to ensure early identification of abortion complications.


The experience of pain in real-time during medication [medical] abortion

by EmmaKate B Friedlander, Shandhini Raidoo, Reni Soon, Jennifer Salcedo, James Davis, Mary Tschann, Tiana Fontanilla, Wakako Horiuchi, Bliss Kaneshiro

Contraception 2022;11 (June):71-75   (Not open access)


Objective – We aimed to characterize the current pain experience of patients completing an evidence-based mifepristone-misoprostol medication abortion regimen using real-time pain scores.

Study design – We collected real-time data on pain experienced by 54 women undergoing medication abortion using an evidence-based regimen of 200 mg mifepristone and 800 mcg buccal misoprostol. These women were enrolled in the placebo arm of a study on the effect of pregabalin for pain during medication abortion. All participants were dispensed ibuprofen and oxycodone/acetaminophen for analgesia. We assessed maximum pain experienced by participants on an 11-point numerical rating scale (NRS), duration of pain, and analgesic usage. Data was collected through electronic surveys sent via text message link at 6 specified points over 72 hours.

Results – Of the 54 women randomized to the placebo group, 2 were lost to follow-up. Participants experienced a mean maximum pain score of 5.5 ± 2.2. The mean time to maximum pain was 3.7 ± 2.4 hours after misoprostol. By hour 12 after misoprostol, 60.8% of participants reported no pain, which increased to 76.9% at 24 hours and 82.0% at 72 hours. Participants reported median ibuprofen usage of 2 800 mg tablets and median oxycodone/acetaminophen usage of one-half of a 5/325mg tablet. Approximately 12.0% of participants reported taking zero ibuprofen tablets, and 50.0% reported no opioid usage during the study period.

Conclusions – Our real-time data collection demonstrated lower mean maximum experienced pain scores and shorter duration of pain than previously reported for medication abortion. Analgesic use was lower than previously described.

Implications – This updated characterization of pain experienced during an evidence-based medication abortion regimen may allow for better pain-related counseling, tailoring of opioid prescription practices, and improvement in patient satisfaction.