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Levonorgestrel (By mouth)

Prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex or after failure of another birth control method.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Levonorgestrel is an emergency contraceptive that is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or after failure of another birth control method. It works by preventing a woman's egg from fully developing. It may also prevent the attachment of the woman's egg to the wall of the uterus (womb). No contraceptive method is 100 percent effective. Birth control methods such as having surgery to… Read more
Brand names include
Aftera, EContra EZ, Fallback Solo, My Way, Next Choice, Next Choice One Dose, Opcicon One-Step, Option 2, Plan B, Plan B One-Step, React, Take Action
Other forms
Into the uterus
Drug classes About this
Contraceptive, Contraceptive, Progestin, Endocrine-Metabolic Agent
Combinations including this drug

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

The levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine system for atypical endometrial hyperplasia

Atypical endometrial hyperplasia commonly develops into endometrial carcinoma, which is the most common gynaecologic cancer in the world. The levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine system (LNG‐IUS) is thought to reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia. However, this review of the evidence found no randomised controlled studies (RCTs) of the efficacy and safety of the LNG‐IUS for treating women with a diagnosis of atypical endometrial hyperplasia. RCTS are required in this area.

Use of a levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine device (LNG‐IUD) for recurrence of symptoms in women who have had surgery for endometriosis

Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, usually in the pelvis, that can lead to infertility and pelvic pain. It is managed with surgery, hormonal medications, or a combination of both. The progestogen levonorgestrel is one such hormonal medication. The aim of this review was to assess whether the use of a hormone‐releasing intrauterine device was beneficial for managing associated painful symptoms and for preventing recurrence of endometriosis following surgery. Although preliminary findings are encouraging, at this stage there is only limited evidence from three randomised trials of a beneficial role with the use of the LNG‐IUD in reducing the recurrence of painful periods following surgery for endometriosis. The strength of the evidence was graded as moderate reflecting our belief that future evidence will most likely not change these findings.

Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG‐IUS) for endometrial protection in women with breast cancer taking tamoxifen to prevent recurrence

Cochrane authors investigated whether the levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine system (LNG‐IUS) can reduce the risk of endometrial polyps, abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus and endometrial cancer in women taking tamoxifen following breast cancer. The review also investigated whether use of the LNG‐IUS influences the risk of abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting, fibroids, breast cancer recurrence or death in women taking tamoxifen following breast cancer.

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Summaries for consumers

The levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine system for atypical endometrial hyperplasia

Atypical endometrial hyperplasia commonly develops into endometrial carcinoma, which is the most common gynaecologic cancer in the world. The levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine system (LNG‐IUS) is thought to reduce the risk of endometrial hyperplasia. However, this review of the evidence found no randomised controlled studies (RCTs) of the efficacy and safety of the LNG‐IUS for treating women with a diagnosis of atypical endometrial hyperplasia. RCTS are required in this area.

Use of a levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine device (LNG‐IUD) for recurrence of symptoms in women who have had surgery for endometriosis

Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, usually in the pelvis, that can lead to infertility and pelvic pain. It is managed with surgery, hormonal medications, or a combination of both. The progestogen levonorgestrel is one such hormonal medication. The aim of this review was to assess whether the use of a hormone‐releasing intrauterine device was beneficial for managing associated painful symptoms and for preventing recurrence of endometriosis following surgery. Although preliminary findings are encouraging, at this stage there is only limited evidence from three randomised trials of a beneficial role with the use of the LNG‐IUD in reducing the recurrence of painful periods following surgery for endometriosis. The strength of the evidence was graded as moderate reflecting our belief that future evidence will most likely not change these findings.

Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG‐IUS) for endometrial protection in women with breast cancer taking tamoxifen to prevent recurrence

Cochrane authors investigated whether the levonorgestrel‐releasing intrauterine system (LNG‐IUS) can reduce the risk of endometrial polyps, abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus and endometrial cancer in women taking tamoxifen following breast cancer. The review also investigated whether use of the LNG‐IUS influences the risk of abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting, fibroids, breast cancer recurrence or death in women taking tamoxifen following breast cancer.

See all (40)

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