How Long Do Abortion Pills Last?
Tips for managing an emergency supply.
If you have an emergency stash of abortion pills, here’s what you need to know about making sure they work when they’re needed.
- Keep them in their original packaging or another tightly sealed container. A 2014 study shows that when misoprostol is exposed to air and moisture, it becomes less effective really fast – losing about 5% of the active ingredient in just 48 hours.
- Store them in a place that’s dry and not too hot or cold. Many medications start to break down when they're exposed to extreme temperatures, which means they won’t work as well.
- Check the expiration date. If stored properly, mifepristone has a shelf life of about five years, and misoprostol has a shelf life of about two years. While most medications remain effective well past their expiration date, it’s not worth taking the chance with expired abortion pills. Dispose of them safely once you have replacements.
Having abortion pills on hand just in case means not having to wait at all to end an unwanted pregnancy, not even the few minutes it takes to call and make an appointment at a clinic. Plenty of reproductive health care experts think providing the medications to people who aren’t pregnant – also known as “advance provision” – is a great idea, based on studies showing that people are capable of using them safely and effectively without direct supervision. In fact, many say abortion pills should be available over the counter. And we agree!