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J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care. 2015 Apr;41(2):116-21. doi: 10.1136/jfprhc-2013-100733. Epub 2014 May 28.

Use of ulipristal acetate and levonorgestrel for emergency contraception: a follow-up study.

Author information

Consultant in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Abacus Community Sexual Health Service, Liverpool Community Health, Liverpool, UK.
Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA and Visiting Professor, Hull York Medical School, University of Hull, Hull, UK.
Retired Consultant in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Abacus Community Sexual Health Service, Liverpool Community Health, Liverpool, UK.



Previously we showed that increasing the choice of emergency contraception (EC) guided by medical eligibility did not result in wholesale large-scale usage of ulipristal acetate (UPA). This further 12-month study aimed to answer three questions. (1) Does offering choice of EC lead to change in methods used? (2) Are women who choose UPA more likely than those who choose levonorgestrel (LNG) to continue using condoms for subsequent contraception or to decline any ongoing contraception? (3) Do more women choosing LNG 'quick start' hormonal contraception?


A retrospective study of EC episodes (1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013) by quarters. Among women offered all three methods of EC (49.1%) we noted the method chosen, and decisions on ongoing contraception among those choosing either LNG or UPA. Differences were tested for statistical significance.


In 6110 episodes of EC, LNG was issued in 69.2%, UPA in 26.0%, and a copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD) was fitted in 4.8%. Quarter by quarter, the data show a small decline in LNG use, suggesting plateauing by the last quarter, and a significant increase in UPA use between the first and the other three quarters (p<0.001). Use of the Cu-IUD remained static. The percentage of women offered three methods rose to 54.2%. In women offered full choice (3000; 49.1%) we saw a significant increase in choice of UPA, from 39.3% to 48.6% (p<0.001). Women who chose LNG were more likely to quick start (p=0.02) or be continuing contraception already used (p<0.001). Overall, those choosing UPA were more likely to use condoms (p<0.001) but were no more likely to decline ongoing contraception (p=0.13).


There was a significant increase in women using UPA for EC compared with our previous study, particularly among those wishing to use condoms for continuing contraception. Women choosing LNG were more likely to quick start pills or to continue current hormonal contraception. Detailed attention to continuing contraception following EC may be an important factor in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy.


emergency contraception

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