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BMC Womens Health. 2014 Apr 4;14:54. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-14-54.

A systematic review of effectiveness and safety of different regimens of levonorgestrel oral tablets for emergency contraception.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, North South University, Dhaka 1229, Bangladesh. mohammadnsu@yahoo.com.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Unintended pregnancy is a complex phenomenon which raise to take an emergency decision. Low contraceptive prevalence and high user failure rates are the leading causes of this unexpected situation. High user failure rates suggest the vital role of emergency contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Levonorgestrel - a commonly used progestin for emergency contraception. However, little is known about its pharmacokinetics and optimal dose for use. Hence, there is a need to conduct a systematic review of the available evidences.

METHODS:

Randomized, double-blind trials were sought, evaluating healthy women with regular menstrual cycles, who requested emergency contraception within 72 h of unprotected coitus, to one of three regimens: 1.5 mg single dose levonorgestrel, two doses of 0.75 mg levonorgestrel given 12 h apart or two doses of 0.75 mg levonorgestrel given 24 h apart. The primary outcome was unintended pregnancy; other outcomes were side-effects and timing of next menstruation.

RESULTS:

Every trial under consideration successfully established the contraceptive effectiveness of levonorgestrel for preventing unintended pregnancy. Moreover, a single dose of levonorgestrel 1.5 mg for emergency contraception supports its safety and efficacy profile. If two doses of levonorgestrel 0.75 mg are intended for administration, the second dose can positively be taken 12-24 h after the first dose without compromising its contraceptive efficacy. The main side effect was frequent menstrual irregularities. No serious adverse events were reported.

CONCLUSIONS:

The review shows that, emergency contraceptive regimen of single-dose levonorgestrel is not inferior in efficacy to the two-dose regimen. All the regimens studied were very efficacious for emergency contraception and prevented a high proportion of pregnancies if taken within 72 h of unprotected coitus. Single levonorgestrel dose (1.5 mg) can substitute two 0.75 mg doses 12 or 24 h apart. With either regimen, the earlier the treatment is given, the more effective it seems to be.

PMID:
24708837
PMCID:
PMC3977662
DOI:
10.1186/1472-6874-14-54
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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