Misoprostol preferable to ethacridine lactate for abortions at 13-20 weeks of pregnancy: Cuban experience

Alejandro Velazco Boza, Rodolfo Gómez Ponce de León, Luis Salas Castillo, Dania Rebeca Yi Mariño, Ellen M H Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


Outdated second trimester abortion methods are still being used in some countries, and very few studies have compared them to currently recommended methods. To this end, we studied the efficacy and safety of vaginal misoprostol used alone for abortions in 189 women at 13-20 weeks gestation, in 2004-2006. We also retrospectively collated similar data from an historical cohort of 189 women drawn consecutively and chronologically from hospital records from 2003-2006, also at 13-20 weeks gestation, who had had abortions with a combination of extra-amniotic 0.1% ethacridine lactate solution, oxytocin and sharp curettage. At 24 hours, misoprostol was 92.6% effective in inducing abortion versus 76.2% with the ethacridine lactate regimen (OR 4.2, 95% CI 2.3-8.0). The misoprostol cohort experienced fewer complications than the ethacridine cohort (4 vs. 38 cases, OR 0.086, 95% CI 0.03-0.23). We conclude that in the absence of mifepristone, misoprostol alone is preferable to the ethacridine regimen for the termination of pregnancy in the second trimester, because it works faster, has a higher success rate in a shorter period of time, and fewer complications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReproductive Health Matters
Issue number31 Suppl
Pages (from-to)189-195
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Abortifacient Agents, Nonsteroidal/administration & dosage
  • Abortion, Induced/methods
  • Administration, Intravaginal
  • Adult
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cuba
  • Ethacridine/administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Misoprostol/administration & dosage
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


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