HOW TO USE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS (ECPs)
If you have experienced nausea or vomiting while taking hormone containing birth control methods, or if you have had severe "morning sickness" during pregnancy, you may want to use some medication to prevent or reduce this with Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs). Ask the family planning counselor for more information. These medicines work best if they are already in your system before you begin to feel nauseated. Follow the specific directions for the use of these medicines that come with them. In general, you should take one pill by mouth or put one suppository into your rectum about one half to one hour before taking a dose of ECPs. Additional doses can be used as directed if nausea continues or recurs. These medications usually cause sleepiness or drowsiness as a side effect. Do not drive a car, operate potentially dangerous machinery, or drink any alcohol while using these medications.
The most commonly used ECP is Plan B, which contains only progestin. It is slightly more effective than the other ECPs and tends to cause less nausea. If a 2-dose regimen is used, each dose of Plan B consists of one pill. If a 1-dose regimen is used, each dose consists of 2 pills.
Any of the following Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills can be used for Emergency Contraception: Any of the active pills of Ovral, Lo/Ovral, Nordette, Levlen, Levora, and the yellow colored pills of Triphasil, Tri-Levlen, or Trivora. If Ovral is used, each dose of ECPs consists of 2 pills. If any of the other types are used, each dose of ECPs consists of 4 pills.
Any of the following progestin-only, "mini-pills" may also be used for Emergency Contraception: Ovrette, Nor-QD, or Micronor. If any of these progestin-only, "mini-pills" is used, each dose of ECPs consists of 20 pills.
[ ] OPTION ONE: You will be using ____________________.
Take 2 pills as a single dose (and then you do not need to take a second dose).
[ ] OPTION TWO: You will be using ____________________.
Take the first dose of [ ] 1 / [ ] 2 / [ ] 4 / [ ] 20 pills as soon as you can.
The sooner after having had unprotected sexual intercourse that you take the first dose of ECPs, the more likely they are to prevent pregnancy. However, since the second dose must be taken 12 hours later, you may want to time the first dose so that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to take the second dose. It had been recommended that the first dose be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after having had unprotected sexual intercourse in order for ECPs to work. However, new evidence shows that ECPs may still work even when the first dose is taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after having had unprotected sexual intercourse.
Take the second dose of [ ] 1 / [ ] 2 / [ ] 4 / [ ] 20 pills 12 hours after the
You may have nausea from using ECPs. It is usually mild and should stop within a few
days after the second dose of pills. However, if you vomit within 1 or 2 hours after taking a dose of ECPs, that dose may not be effective. You may need to take some anti-vomiting medicine and another dose of ECPs. If this happens and you were not given an extra dose
HOW TO USE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS (cont.)
of ECPs, contact the clinic right away. If this happens and you were given an extra dose of ECPs, take a dose of anti-vomiting medicine and as soon as you feel the nausea go away take the extra (third) dose of ECPs.
Your next menstrual period may begin a little earlier or later than expected. However,
it should begin within the next 3 weeks. If your period is one or more weeks late, call the clinic to arrange for a pregnancy test and pelvic exam. ECPs may not prevent ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies outside of the uterus / womb – usually in the Fallopian tube or in the abdomen) the way they do normal (in the uterus) pregnancies. Therefore, if you get pregnant in spite of using ECPs, there is a chance that the pregnancy may be ectopic. Ectopic pregnancies are medical / surgical emergencies. Even if you decide that you want to continue with a pregnancy that occurs in spite of using ECPs, you need to be examined as early as possible to find out if the pregnancy is in the uterus or not.
If you are going to have sexual intercourse again and don’t want to get pregnant, begin
using some form of birth control right away. Your family planning counselor or medical provider can help you decide what is the best method for you at this time. At the least, using condoms is a good idea. ECPs are not as effective as other methods of birth control and are meant for one-time, emergency use only. If you want to restart using a hormonal method of birth control after using ECPs, discuss how to do this with your medical provider. Remember to protect yourself against getting HIV/AIDS and/or other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), as well as against unwanted pregnancy: Use CONDOMS every time you have sex, if you may be at risk. If you have questions about risk behaviors for HIV/AIDS and/or other STDs, ask the family planning counselor for more information.
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