Pain has been recognized to be the most common and predictable side effect of medication abortion, causing significant distress associated with the process. Yet there is little known about the appropriate management of pain during this process, with no current evidence based recommendations for optimal analgesic regimens during the first trimester. The goal of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of oral methadone for pain control during medication abortion. The current medication regimen used to perform medication abortion is a dose of mifepristone (antiprogesterone) orally, followed by a dose of misoprostol (prostaglandin analogue) 24 to 72 hours later. Patients are prescribed a standard dose of ibuprofen 600-800mg tabs for pain control during the process. The investigators will conduct a non-randomized, pilot study with 25 patients evaluated at the Boston Medical Center family planning clinic at 10 weeks of gestation or less for medication abortion.



Eligible Ages
Over 18 Years
Eligible Genders
Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion Criteria

  • Women requesting medication abortion up to 10 weeks gestation - Fluent English speaking - Able and willing to receive and send text messages and receive phone calls - Opioid naive - Healthy patients with no significant comorbidities

Exclusion Criteria

  • Any history of drug or alcohol use, opioid use in last 30 days, chronic use of pain medications, or use of benzodiazepines. - Any chronic disease including renal, liver, respiratory or cardiac disease - Any known allergies to mifepristone, misoprostol, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) and methadone. - Known history of QT prolongation

Study Design

Phase 4
Study Type
Intervention Model
Single Group Assignment
Primary Purpose
None (Open Label)

Arm Groups

ArmDescriptionAssigned Intervention
Oral methadone
Participants will be given a preemptive analgesic in addition to a standard dose of ibuprofen while undergoing early medication abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol (not provided as part of the study). All participants will also be provided with supplementary non- opioid analgesics to be used at their own discretion during the process.
  • Drug: Methadone Pill
    All participants will be given a 5mg methadone tablet to be taken immediately following the misoprostol dose.
    Other names:
    • Methadone Hydrochloride
  • Drug: Ibuprofen
    All participants will be provided additional analgesics (ibuprofen 800mg x4 tabs) available for use as needed every eight hours.
    Other names:
    • Motrin, Advil

Recruiting Locations

Boston Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts 02118
Rachel Achu, MD

More Details

Boston Medical Center

Study Contact

Rachel A Achu, MD
(617) 414-2000

Detailed Description

The primary objective of this research study is to determine the feasibility of enrolling patients in a study that requires the consumption of methadone for acute pain management for medication abortion. Secondary objectives include the assessment of pain using: pain scores at 0, 4, 8, and 24 hours following misoprostol, use of supplementary analgesia, reported side effects, and patient satisfaction All participants will be instructed to take methadone 5 mg orally (1 tablet) simultaneously with the consumption of misoprostol. The participants will be evaluated using an 11 point numeric rating pain scale with 0 (no pain) and 10 (most severe pain). Patients will be given a telephone number to which they will be asked to text study staff indicating that misoprostol and methadone have been consumed. Study staff will phone the participants at 0, 4, 8 and 24 hours post misoprostol consumption to conduct a survey posing questions about maximum pain scores, compliance with study medication and any adverse effects experienced. Participants will also be contacted at 48 hours for further evaluation of any reported adverse events and 1 week post misoprostol to assess ease of study design and instructions, pain experience, perisomal view on consumption of methadone and patient satisfaction.


Study information shown on this site is derived from ClinicalTrials.gov (a public registry operated by the National Institutes of Health). The listing of studies provided is not certain to be all studies for which you might be eligible. Furthermore, study eligibility requirements can be difficult to understand and may change over time, so it is wise to speak with your medical care provider and individual research study teams when making decisions related to participation.