SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
RU486, abortion drug. Computer graphic represent- ation of the molecular structure of RU486 (also known as mifepristone) an abortion-inducing drug. The red balls represent oxygen atoms, the green carbon, the light blue are hydrogen and the dark blue are nitrogen atoms. RU486 is a steroid drug structurally similar to progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries, required for maintaining pregnancy. RU486 blocks the effects of progesterone. Two days after an oral dose of RU486 a prostaglandin drug is taken that causes uterine contractions, resulting in the expulsion of the embryo. RU486 should not be used more than 47 days after the last menstrual cycle.
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