Mifepristone holds promise as a safe and effective anti-progesterone. Wide-spread use of mifepristone to regularize cycles or prevent pregnancy, however, cannot be recommended at this time. The drug is promising for these uses but the dose and timing of administration required to achieve optimum effect are unknown. Menses are consistently induced in the mid to late luteal phase at a wide range of doses. Further work needs to be done to examine the luteolytic properties of the drug when given at this time. Knowledge about the serum concentration of the parent compound and its less active metabolites after oral administration may help to explain variable biological effects. The effects of other modes of administration, such as transdermal or transvaginal application which avoid a first-pass effect by the liver, should also be explored. Practical issues of the timing of administration need to be resolved. The drug is not effective when given in the absence of luteal phase levels of progesterone. Thus, verification of luteal phase status before the administration of the drug would be ideal. Basal body temperature monitoring may be one way to do this. There is no other convenient way to determine serum levels of progesterone that would be feasible on a large-scale outpatient basis. Since mifepristone does not regulate the timing of ovulation, the optimal time of administration may vary from cycle to cycle. This presumes a high degree of willingness on the part of the woman to observe her cycles and participate in decisions regarding the timing of the drug. Mifepristone, the first clinically available anti-progesterone, represents a significant advance in fertility control. Further work is necessary to define the optimal dose and schedule of administration in the luteal phase and to explore the contraceptive efficacy in women at risk for pregnancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynecology