RU-486 [är΄yo͞o′fôr΄āt΄ē siks′]n.〚< R(oussel) U(CLAF), the manufacturer〛a steroid drug, C29H35NO2, used orally primarily to terminate pregnancy at the earliest stage by blocking the reception of progesterone: also written RU486 or RU 486
* * *Common name for mifepristone, a drug used in the first several weeks of pregnancy for inducing abortion.RU-486 blocks the receptors for progesterone, a hormone necessary for the maintenance of pregnancy. The drug causes the breakdown of the uterine lining, which, along with the embryo, is shed through the vagina. It has been available in France for the termination of early pregnancy since 1988 and was approved for use in the U.S. in 2000. The name RU-486 is derived from the manufacturer Roussel-Uclaf and a serial number.
* * *▪ drugfirst trade name for mifepristone, a synthetic steroid drug prescribed for inducing abortion during the early weeks of pregnancy. The name is derived from an abbreviation for the pharmaceutical company Roussel-Uclaf plus a serial number. RU-486 was approved for use in France in 1988, and almost immediately it became the object of ardent opposition by right-to-life groups and equally ardent advocacy by abortion-rights groups. Both sides understood that the “abortion pill,” as RU-486 was quickly dubbed, would change the dynamics of abortion, making it possible for women to terminate early pregnancies with relative ease and privacy, few medical complications, and in most cases no need for intrusive surgical procedures. In 1995 executives of Roussel-Uclaf formed the company Exelgyn, which was awarded patent rights to the drug. It was approved for use in the United Kingdom in 1991 and Germany in 1999 under the trade name Mifegyne and in the United States in 2000 under the trade name Mifeprex. See also mifepristone.
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