Emergency Contraception

Posted in Health Information Brochures

WHAT IS EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION?

Emergency contraception (EC) is contraception which is used after unprotected sexual intercourse in order to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy occurring.

Unprotected sexual intercourse may happen for many reasons and can include intercourse where no contraception was used, having a condom break or slip off, having a diaphragm dislodge after sex has occurred, or missing a dose of the contraceptive pill. There are three types of emergency contraception available in Australia, two in tablet form (a progestogen only EC or Ulipristal ) and the copper IUD.

LEVONOGESTREL- EC.

This contains a progestogen called Levonorgestrel (LNG-EC) in a 1.5mg dose which may come as a single tablet or two tablets.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

LNG- EC works by delaying ovulation (the release of an egg from a woman’s ovaries). If an egg is already fertilized or implanted in the womb and a pregnancy has begun, EC will have no effect. Emergency contraception cannot cause an abortion.

HOW DO YOU TAKE IT?

LNG- EC is taken by mouth. It needs to be taken within 96 hours (four days) and preferably within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken the more effective it is. If vomiting occurs within two hours of taking the dose, you will need a second dose. You will need to continue with any regular contraceptive you are using. LNG EC is suitable for breastfeeding women.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

LNG-EC is estimated to prevent 69% of pregnancies when taken within the recommended time frame. The earlier it is taken the more effective it is.

DOES IT HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

LNG- EC is considered a very safe medication to use. Most women do not experience any side effects, but if they do occur they may include nausea, headache, and possible changes to your menstrual cycle in the month that you take it. If your next period is delayed by more than a week it is advised that you have a pregnancy test.

WHERE CAN I GET IT?

LNG- EC is available over the counter at most pharmacies. It is also available at the SHFPACT clinic, Walk in Centres, The Junction Youth Health Centre and at Canberra Sexual Health Centre.

ULIPRISTAL-EC (ELLA ONE)

This contains a 30mg dose of ulipristal acetate (UPA-EC) which is a medication called a selective progesterone receptor modulator.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Ulipristal-EC works primarily by stopping or delaying ovulation. It works even if an egg is just about to be released. It may also prevent implantation.

HOW DO YOU TAKE IT?

Ulipristal –EC is taken by mouth within 120 hours (five days) and preferably within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken the more effective it is. If vomiting occurs within two hours of taking the UPA-EC , the dose needs to be repeated. If you are breastfeeding you will need to stop feeding your baby for seven days after using UPA-EC and discard any milk expressed during this period. You may resume breastfeeding after the initial seven days

Please note: If you are using the combined oral contraceptive pill or progestogen only pill (minipill) you will need to stop taking it for five days after using UPA-EC and once restarted on your previous contraceptive method, use condoms for seven days.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

The percentage of pregnancies prevented by UPA-EC has been estimated to be approximately 60–80%.

DOES IT HAVE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?

Like the LNG-EC , the UPA-EC is considered a very safe medication to use. Most women do not experience side effects, but if they do occur they may include nausea, headaches, and possible changes to your menstrual cycle in the month that you take it. If your next period is delayed by more than a week it is advised that you have a pregnancy test.

WHERE CAN I GET IT?

UPA-EC is available over the counter at most pharmacies.

Copper IUDCOPPER IUD

The copper IUD is a small copper coated plastic device which is inserted into the uterus and which can be used as emergency contraception.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Copper IUD works by interfering with sperm and egg movement, and by preventing implantation. It can also be used as ongoing contraception. It needs to be inserted within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

The Copper IUD is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when inserted within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse. Where can I get a Copper IUD? You will need to have an IUD inserted by a specially trained doctor within the correct timeframe once you have been assessed for suitability.

For more details about the Copper IUD, contact SHFPACT during businesses hours on 02 6247 3077 or your GP.

EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION BROCHURE PDF

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Last updated July 2017

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For urgent concerns where SHFPACT is unable to respond in the time required please see your GP or the Walk-in Clinic at the Canberra Hospital, or call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222. For assistance in an emergency please call 000 or 112 (digital mobile phone) or 106 (TTY, text based emergency number).

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