Patt Morrison for August 18, 2010

The "mornings" after pill: is 5 better than 3?

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A new emergency contraception pill approved by the FDA will give women up to 5 days to take the pill and prevent pregnancy

As it stands now, if a woman has unprotected sex and doesn’t want to get pregnant she has to rush to the pharmacy and get the “morning after” pill into her system as soon as possible. The effectiveness of the pill is reduced each day she waits and is least effective after three days. But now there is “ella”. The FDA just unanimously approved the new emergency form of contraception for sale in the U.S. Ella, unlike Levonorgestrel (the morning after pill), is equally effective for preventing pregnancy five days after intercourse. So a woman could take the pill on day 1 or day 5 and it’s just as likely to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The only hitch is it’s available only by prescription. That leaves one to wonder, if the three day pill is available without a prescription why isn’t the five day version? The retail price of the morning after pill is about $50.00. Will the five day version be substantially more, is it as safe, and will it be available at free clinics?

Guest:

Lisa Stern, nurse practitioner, for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles


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