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Contraception. 2013 May;87(5):583-9. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.09.031. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Prevention and management of nausea and vomiting with emergency contraception: a systematic review.

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Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.



Nausea and vomiting are side effects of emergency contraception pill (ECP) use. Different ECP regimens and the use of antinausea drugs may prevent these side effects.


We conducted two searches to identify data pertaining to the prevention of nausea and vomiting with ECP use and management of emesis with ECP use. Both searches queried the PubMed and Cochrane databases for peer-reviewed articles, in any language, published on January 1966-February 2012. Types of ECP included in our searches were levonorgestrel (LNG), Yuzpe regimens or ulipristal acetate (UA). Our search strategy for data on management of emesis with ECP use also included the gray literature. The gray literature includes materials such as reports, patent claims, prescribing information and package labels that are not published commercially.


Eleven articles met the inclusion criteria. Split dose or two doses of LNG caused less nausea than UA and standard two-dose Yuzpe regimen in one study. Four studies demonstrated no difference between split-dose versus single-dose LNG. In two trials, meclizine and metoclopramide, given before Yuzpe ECPs, reduced nausea, but only meclizine reduced vomiting.


The evidence does not support routine use of antiemetics with ECP use. Data to guide management of emesis with ECP are limited to expert opinion and package labeling.

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