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If Mifepristone Were Really Like Ecstasy and Weed, It Would Probably Be *More* Popular

March 7, 2008

As further proof that some people who want to restrict abortion access don’t bother with logical consistency, a bill that just passed in the Missouri house (and was intended to deal with the sale of drugs that can be used in meth production, such as cold medicines with pseudoephedrine) now has an amendment added by Rep. Ray Salva which adds mifepristone (a medical abortion drug) to the list of Schedule I Controlled Substances. The specific criteria for Schedule I is that the substance has high potential for abuse; and has no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision. This class includes drugs such as ecstasy, heroin, marijuana, and LSD.

I wonder if the Representative knows that mifepristone is not only approved and legal for medical abortion, but can also be used for cervical ripening and induction of labor, either at term or following intrauterine fetal death? It’s not exactly a “street drug” with no accepted medical uses, and is not addictive.

The amendment is expected to be removed if it gets anywhere in the state Senate.

Related news coverage is available from the Kansas City Star and Missourian.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    April 19, 2008 8:35 am

    There are people who are on the drug for medical uses. Just because the controversy has hampered reserach and clinical trials into the drug’s other uses doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other uses.

  2. April 19, 2008 9:34 am

    Mary, thanks for reminding me to point it out – I’m not making an argument here about the appropriateness of the inclusion of other drugs in the Class I category, but rather am noting that the Class has a very specific definition and a drug approved for medical purposes (because the research *has* been done) with approvable safety data and no known or suspected addictive properties *by definition* does not belong in that Class.

  3. April 19, 2008 1:20 pm

    I have a recurrent brain tumor called meningioma, I take Mifepristone(Mifeprex)200mg daily to stop the residual regrowth of this brain tumor. I have had two major craniotomies attempting to remove it completely, the first time in 1986, when it came back in 1992 then I took Mifepristone for 3 years in a NCI SWOG 9005 Phase III clinical trial from 1996-1999, then I had the second cranitomy in 2000 because the trial closed inconclusively and they told me about the bony involvement of the tumor in my optic canal. Some regrowth showed up again in 2004 and stole the vision in my left eye, so I started Mifeprex again in Feb 2005 and I am still taking it. the standard treatment I am still postponing is brain radiation for six weeks. I have no noticeable side effects, in fact it also helps control my irritable bowel syndrome.

    I wish other people with a similar condotion to mine were given the opportunity to take this safe effective drug, but because of the controversy over its other use for abortion it is not available for prescription by most cancer doctors, only surgical abortionists may prescribe it under current USA law passed in 2000. I was able to get a compassionate use from the FDA/FMF program and Hospital IRB, but it took my Tucson doctor, a hemo-oncologist, a full year just to complete all the legal paperwork.
    GBYAY Anne McGinnis Breen

  4. April 19, 2008 1:24 pm

    I have a recurrent brain tumor called meningioma, I take Mifepristone(Mifeprex)200mg daily to stop the residual regrowth of this brain tumor. I have had two major craniotomies attempting to remove it completely, the first time in 1986, when it came back in 1992 then I took Mifepristone for 3 years in a NCI SWOG 9005 Phase III clinical trial from 1996-1999, then I had the second cranitomy in 2000 because the trial closed inconclusively and they told me about the bony involvement of the tumor in my optic canal. Some regrowth showed up again in 2004 and stole the vision in my left eye, so I started Mifeprex again in Feb 2005 and I am still taking it. the standard treatment I am still postponing is brain radiation for six weeks. I have no noticeable side effects, in fact it also helps control my irritable bowel syndrome.

    I wish other people with a similar condition to mine were given the opportunity to take this safe effective drug, but because of the controversy over its other use for abortion it is not available for prescription by most cancer doctors, only surgical abortionists may prescribe it under current USA law passed in 2000. I was able to get a compassionate use from the FDA/FMF program and Hospital IRB, but it took my Tucson doctor, a hemo-oncologist, a full year just to complete all the legal paperwork.
    GBYAY Anne McGinnis Breen

  5. Mary permalink
    April 20, 2008 8:25 am

    Rachel,
    People like Rep Ray Salva and anti-abortion fanatics don’t care about the impact of what they do on others and are simply againsst the drug due to their views on the subject of abortion. The drug’s safe and non-toxic to use in medical treatments. Here’s another use for it (there are so many more) and to think that thousands of women die every year of cervical cancer and Rep Ray Salva and supporters won’t lift a finger to more it more readily available to treat cancers. If you want this drug you have to pay the full cost yourself with no help from government subsidies including for any of the life-threatening medical conditions it can be used to treat.

    Health News and Articles

    http://03530.com/2008/04/16/extra-drug-improves-rectal-cancer-treatment.html

    April 15 —

    And adding the contraceptive drug mifepristone to chemotherapy kills ovarian cancer cells that escaped cisplatin treatment.

    ….In the second study, researchers found that using mifepristone along with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin might improve success in treating ovarian cancer.

    “Mifepristone, which was initially created for contraceptive purposes, has a therapeutic effect against ovarian cancers that remained after standard cisplatin therapy,” lead researcher Dr. Carlos M. Telleria, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, said during Tuesday’s teleconference.

    One of the main problems in treating ovarian cancer is that the usual treatment with the chemotherapy drug cisplatin doesn’t kill all the cancer cells. This allows the cells to reform into colonies and the cancer to continue to grow.

    “We show for the first time that mifepristone is effective in preventing the re-growth of ovarian cancer cells that survive standard cisplatin chemotherapy,” Telleria said.

    There are more than 20,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the United States, and more than 15,000 women die from the disease annually, Telleria noted.

    In the study, the researchers exposed ovarian cancer cells to cisplatin. Although cisplatin killed the majority of the cells, there were cells that escaped and regrouped as cancer. This happened all three times the cells were treated with cisplatin over 36 days.

    However, when cells were treated with cisplatin and then exposed to mifepristone, none of the cancer cells survived, the researchers found.

    “This study suggests that mifepristone has the potential to improve the success of the standard platinum drugs in the treatment of ovarian cancer,” Telleria said.

    SOURCES: April 15, 2008, teleconference with Rakesh K. Jain, Ph.D., director, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Carlos M. Telleria, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine, Vermillion; American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, San Diego

    2000: Phase II study of mifepristone (RU486) in refractory ovarian cancer.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10831354&dopt=Abstract

    “Mifepristone has activity against ovarian cancer resistant to cisplatin and paclitaxel. The drug is well tolerated. Further studies need to be performed when this drug becomes more widely available in the United States.”

    2000: RU486 increases radiosensitivity and restores apoptosis through modulation of HPV E6/E7 in dexamethasone-treated cervical carcinoma cells

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10739708&dopt=Abstract

    “RU486 reverses glucocorticoid-dependent upregulation of HPV E6/E7, which corresponds to restoration of p53 expression, and restores radiosensitivity and apoptosis following gamma-irradiation. Therefore, it appears that along with radiation, RU486 may be a beneficial agent in the treatment of hormone-reactive cervical tumors.”

  6. April 21, 2008 1:16 pm

    Mary and Anne,
    Thank you for pointing to the other uses and potential uses of this drug.

  7. March 30, 2013 6:50 am

    Rachel,
    Just wanted to check in with you…. I am still taking mifepristone RU 486 (Mifeprex) daily and my low grade recurrent brain tumor is still stable according to my doctors reading of my head MRI last fall november 2012. The medical researchers in Rochester NY have also safely used it to shrink benign uterine fibroid tumors. Our US womens health care system costs would be greatly reduced if this drug was not banned by right wing conservatives who treat women as second class citizens denying them the right to control their own bodies and choose modern health care options. Every women with fibroids might not need an invasive surgical hysterectomy if this medication was more widely available in the US today. And women might be safer if they did not take the extra hormones in the current Plan B type birth control pills like Yaz etc. , . .

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