Sunday, July 17, 2005

Emergency Contraception, part 3

An article in today's New York Times indicates that the FDA will decide by September 1 whether to allow Plan B, an emergency contraceptive, to be sold over-the-counter in the US. The article provides a nice overview of the opposing and supporting arguments. Basically, supporters want OTC access in part b/c the drug must be taken within 72 hours to be effective, the earlier the better. With waits for doctor's appointments, this can be a real problem. Opponents think OTC access will increase risky sexual activity in younger women (nothing about younger men here - they've been able to get OTC condoms all along).

If you don't have a NYTimes login, you can register for free or borrow one from BugMeNot.

The FDA/CDER letter initially declining OTC status can be found here (PDF).
I have not yet found anything new on the proposed 9/1/05 deadline on the FDA website; will update if I do.

Note: you will sometimes see emergency contraception referred to as the "morning after" pill. This is something of a misnomer, because it can be taken for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, and consists of more than one pill.

Also, this page provides a chart of which regular oral contraceptives can be used for emergency contraception, and the proper dosages. You may want to speak to your women's health provider about this.
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