Emergency Contraceptive Pill ( eg: Postinor 2 ); How often is too much?

A cursory look at community Pharmacies reveals that there has been a
sharp decline in the purchase of condoms over the past few years. It
appears that this decline parallels a sharp rise in the consumption of
the post-pill among sexually active women. Today is world
Contraception day, and my aim is to help young, sexually active people
to get the best out of emergency contraceptive pills.

When taken by the woman after unprotected sexual intercourse,
emergency contraceptive pills such as Postinor 2, Lydia post-pill,
Lenor, Xtivor, Potex, contra-72 among many others, reduce your chances
of getting pregnant.
The pill consists of a single tablet of 1.5 mg levonorgestrel, which
must be taken as soon as possible, preferably within 12 hours and no
later than 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.
Alternatively, some brands are made of two tablets, each containing
0.75mg levonorgestrel taken in 2 doses, 12 hours apart. The pill may
still be effective even up to 5 days after sexual intercourse, but
readers must be cautioned that its effectiveness reduces considerably
after 72 hours.
A repeat dose should be taken if vomiting occurs within three hours of
ingestion. The pills prevent pregnancy by preventing or delaying
ovulation. They may also work to prevent fertilization of an egg by
affecting the cervical mucus or the ability of sperm to bind to the

Contraceptive pills are not effective once the process of implantation
has begun, and they will not cause abortion. Common adverse effects
include nausea, vomiting, headaches, breast tenderness and irregular
bleeding. Many women will experience irregular bleeding regardless of
which brand is chosen, with the menstrual period usually occurring 1
week before or after the expected time.
As the name suggests, these pills were designed for occasional use.
Because they are less effective than other hormonal and long-acting
methods, they are not recommended as a regular method of
contraception. No current scientific data regarding the safety of
repeated use these pills are available, but current consensus suggests
the risks are low, and women can receive multiple doses where

This begs the very question that really inspired this article-How
often is too much? The best way to deal with such controversy is to
use the drug as it was intended to be used-; occasionally. In other
words, if you find yourself using the post-pill more frequently, then
you may consider talking to a health professional about other methods
of contraception. Even though the drug has been found to be very safe
and effective, we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that safety and
efficacy studies were done in the context of how the drug should be

It is difficult to put up a number on how often the pill should be
used. Arbitrarily, a frequency not exceeding 1-4 times per month has
been suggested. Considering the total quantity of levonogesterol that
one will consume in a month when using a regular daily contraception
pill, the writer recommends not more than two per cycle. This is not
to say that one should be denied a repeat dose when required. There
is, however, a caveat; The pill will eventually let you down when used
too frequently within one cycle, and will heavily disrupt your cycle.

Let me take the opportunity to deal with some myths about the
post-pill. The term morning after pill frequently used to refer to the
pill does not imply that it can be taken only in the morning. It only
means it should be taken as soon as possible after sexual intercourse.
The post-pill only prevents pregnancy. It doesn't abort an existing
pregnancy, neither does it protect you from STIs like HIV. You don't
need to wait for 72 hours after the sexual act before taking the drug.
The pill will not affect your fertility and it's safe to use in
breastfeeding mothers.

Disclaimer; this article does not attempt to answer every single
question regarding the post pill. It is also not intended to
substitute for a professional advice from your healthcare
professional. Involve your physician and Pharmacist in every
medication-related decision you want to take. As much as possible,
avoid self-medication at all cost.

Bigi Benson,
Contact: +233579090453


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