Wednesday, July 20, 2005

FDA warns about 'abortion pill' risk

This is an excellent piece of journalism here! What they are saying here is that 5 people died in 5 years and 4 of those people missused the drug. *Gasp* So one person out of the thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of women who have used this pill in the last five years, used the pill properly and died. Jesus, 1 in hundreds of thousands! This calls for an inquiry, let's pull the drug!
How about we get some perspective here, that's an excellent safety rating for a drug, more people probably die taking over the counter pain killers each year than the 'abortion pill.' Do we need to compare the safety numbers to actually having an abortion or going through with the pregnancy? Because the plain fact is that if this pill prevents you from getting pregnant (or causes an abortion or whatever), it's much safer than having an abortion, and having an abortion is actually (would you believe it!) safer than 9 months of a pregnancy.
My favourite part of this article is the last example about the ectopic pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy is a very serious condition that can kill you all on it's own, in that case, I'd say the RU-486 is the least of your worries. Imagine this article was about the safety of over the counter pain killers, this is how that would sound, "The other U.S. death associated with Acetominophen was a case of a brain tumour in October 2001. The drug is not to be used by people with suspected or brain tumours, a life-threatening condition yada yada yada...."
The title of the article makes out that RU-486 leads to instant death if you take it, I don't know if it's just to get you to read the article because unsafe drug stories sell or some pro-life anti-choice bull-shit fear-mongering. Perhaps a little from column A and a little from column B.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005 Posted: 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government warned doctors Tuesday to be on the lookout for rare but deadly infections in women using the so-called abortion pill RU-486, citing two more deaths after its use.
At least five U.S. women have died after taking the pill since it began selling in 2000, although the Food and Drug Administration stressed that it could not prove the drug was to blame.
But the four deaths caused by bloodstream infections, or sepsis, all occurred in women who didn't follow FDA-approved instructions for a pill-triggered abortion, said agency drug chief Dr. Steven Galson.
"We don't know that this off-label use has caused the deaths," he cautioned.
Still, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning doctors of the possible link and urging them to be on the lookout for infections in women who have used the Mifeprex abortion pill.
Such women may not have typical symptoms of sepsis, such as a fever, Galson stressed.
Tuesday's action comes just eight months after the FDA warned about two sepsis cases associated with Mifeprex, also called RU-486 or mifepristone. Additional sepsis cases were reported to the agency in April and June.
The drug, sold by Danco Laboratories, is approved to terminate pregnancy up to 49 days after the beginning of the last menstrual cycle. It blocks a hormone required to sustain a pregnancy. When followed by another medicine, misoprostol, the pregnancy is terminated.
The FDA's instructions call for women to swallow both pills, but most abortion clinics instead instruct that the misoprostol tablet be inserted into the vagina, Galson said. Studies have shown it can work that way, too.
But the four sepsis deaths, all reported from California, came after this so-called off-label use. Galson couldn't say if the women had inserted the tablet vaginally themselves.
In two of the infections, doctors identified a bacterium called Clostridium sordelli, a common germ not usually associated with illness, he said.
The abortion pill remains safe enough to stay on the market, Galson stressed. The rate of sepsis is about 1 in 100,000 uses of the Mifeprex system, comparable to infection risks with surgical abortions and childbirth.
"There are no alarm bells going off with this rate," he said.
The other U.S. death associated with Mifeprex was a case of a ruptured ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy in October 2001. The drug is not to be used by women with suspected or confirmed ectopic pregnancies, a life-threatening condition in which the fertilized egg has implanted outside the uterus.

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