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J Fam Pract. 2017 Oct;66(10):632-634.

Are oral emergency contraceptives a safe and effective form of long-term birth control?

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University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy and Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Madison, WI, USA.
University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, Ebling Library, Madison, WI, USA.


Yes, but not as effective as some other methods. Annual pregnancy rates in women using pericoital levonorgestrel 150 mcg to 1 mg range from 4.9% to 8.9%; menstrual irregularity is the most common adverse effect (strength of recommendation [SOR]: B, Cochrane review of lower-quality trials). In women younger than 35 years who have sexual intercourse 6 or fewer times per month, correct and consistent use of pericoital levonorgestrel 1.5 mg results in an annual pregnancy rate of 11% (SOR: B, one large prospective, open-label trial). Pericoital contraception is less effective than long-acting reversible contraceptives (annual pregnancy rates of 0.05%-0.8%) or perfect use of combined oral contraceptives (0.3% annual pregnancy rate), but similar to, or better than, typical use of combined oral contraception (9%) and condoms (18%).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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