Emergency Contraception

Posted by e-Medical PPT Monday, July 19, 2010
Emergency contraception (EC) is any method of contraception which is used after intercourse and before the potential time of implantation.As these methods work prior to implantation, they are not abortifacients.Emergency contraception is a backup method for occasional use, and should not be used as a regular method of birth control.
Forms of EC include:
* Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs)—sometimes simply referred to as emergency contraceptives (ECs) or the "morning-after pill"—are drugs that act both to prevent ovulation or fertilization and possibly post-fertilization implantation of a blastocyst (embryo). ECPs are distinct from medical abortion methods that act after implantation.
* Copper Intrauterine devices (IUDs)—usually used as a primary contraception method, but sometimes used as emergency contraception.
Emergency contraceptive pills may contain higher doses of the same hormones (estrogens, progestins, or both) found in regular combined oral contraceptive pills. Taken after unprotected sexual intercourse, such higher doses may prevent pregnancy from occurring.The combined or Yuzpe regimen uses large doses of both estrogen and progestin, taken as two doses at a 12-hour interval.The progestin-only method uses the progestin levonorgestrel in a dose of 1.5 mg, either as two 750 μg doses 12 hours apart, or more recently as a single dose.This method is now believed to be less effective and less well-tolerated than the progestin-only method.
An alternative to emergency contraceptive pills is the copper-T intrauterine device (IUD) which can be used up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Insertion of an IUD is more effective than use of Emergency Contraceptive Pills - pregnancy rates when used as emergency contraception are the same as with normal IUD use.

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