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Abortion research that matters: Using core outcomes to enable systematic review

      In this issue of Contraception, Reynolds-Wright et al. published their findings from a Cochrane systematic review examining the effectiveness of different pain management strategies for people undergoing medication abortion up to 14 weeks gestation [

      Reynolds-Wright J, Woldetsadik M, Morroni C, Cameron S. Pain management for medication abortion before 14 weeks' gestation. Contraception 2002; Article in press. https://www.contraceptionjournal.org/article/S0010-7824(22)00226-8/fulltext.

      ]. The topic is highly relevant to patients, providers, and policy makers and had been identified by a diverse group of global community stakeholders to be prioritized for a Cochrane Systematic Review [

      Cochrane Fertility Regulation. Abortion prioritization 2019. downloaded 9.16.2022 www.fertility-regulation.cochrane.org/projects/abortion-prioritization.

      ]. Annually 73 million people globally have an abortion with either use of medications or a procedure [
      • Bearak J
      • Popinchalk A
      • Ganatra B
      • Moller AB
      • Tunçalp Ö
      • Beavin C
      • et al.
      Unintended pregnancy and abortion by income, region, and the legal status of abortion: estimates from a comprehensive model for 1990-2019.
      ]. The World Health Organization recognizes comprehensive abortion care as an essential health service, and pain management is a component of quality abortion care [

      The World Health Organization. Abortion care guidelines. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2022. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240039483 downloaded 9/16/2022.

      ]. However, current evidence is unclear as to what pain management strategy works best. Systematic reviews play a critical role for important clinical or policy topics such as this when alone each individual study is underpowered, a definitive trial is not feasible, or evidence may be conflicting. Additionally, systematic reviews can methodically identify gaps in the existing evidence-base to improve future research.

      Keywords

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      2. Cochrane Fertility Regulation. Abortion prioritization 2019. downloaded 9.16.2022 www.fertility-regulation.cochrane.org/projects/abortion-prioritization.

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