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Fam Plann Perspect. 1992 Nov-Dec;24(6):269-73.

Emergency contraceptive pills: a simple proposal to reduce unintended pregnancies.

Author information

1
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, N.J.

Abstract

PIP:

A new form of postcoital contraceptive therapy is described as more effective because of reduced incidence of nausea, vomiting, and breast tenderness. Other forms of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are the "Yuzpe" method or high-dose contraceptives. The new method calls for administration of 3 200-mg tablets of danocrine (Danazol) within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse and a second dose 12 hours later. There are mixed reviews of the efficacy of danocrine and ECPs. In one comparative study of ECP and danocrine use, efficacy of danocrine was greater but not significantly so. Another study found danocrine so ineffective that the study was halted. ECP use would not end unintended pregnancies caused by method failure unless it was condom failure. Estimates of ECP use involve 75% of the 1.7 million women with user or method failure, all 1.9 million women with unintended pregnancies from nonuse of contraceptives, and some of the 1.6 million abortion users. An obstacle to ECP use is lack of knowledge due to lack of Food and Drug Administration approval of Ovral and Danazol and physician concern for legal liability. Another obstacle consists in the logistics of obtaining ECPs and the fear of side effects. Provision of ECP kits with 3-5 regimens in clinic or physician offices is proposed for women without contraindications. Anticipated objections are reported to be encouragement of contraceptive risk taking, the health risks of repeated use, restrictions in Title X programs, and the drug effect on fertilization. Another proposal is to sell ECPs as over the counter drugs or in vending machines and changing US contraceptive prescription laws. Objections to elimination of the physician prescription requirement might be an increase in use among women with contraindications and a decrease in regular checkups and Pap tests. The objections could be overcome with proper package labeling. Paternalism is not a sufficient justification for requiring prescription of contraceptives and medical visits. ECPs, in fact, are already available as low dose contraceptives such as Lo/Ovral, Nordette, Levlen, Triphasil, and Tri-Levlen when 4 pills are used. Instructions for ECP use are given.

PMID:
1483531
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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