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FDA Approves New Emergency Contraceptive

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new emergency contraceptive which causes less nausea and vomiting than do existing treatments.

The newly-approved contraceptive will be marketed under the brand name “Plan B”and consists of two tablets of levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone that blocks ovulation or fertilization. The first pill must be taken within 72 hours of an unprotected sexual encounter or contraceptive failure and reduces a woman’s risk of pregnancy from 8% to 1%. Levonorgestrel will not abort an existing pregnancy.

PREVEN, an emergency contraceptive kit approved by the FDA last year, consists of 4 hormone pills, including levonorgesterol. A World Health Organization study of approximately 3,000 women in 15 countries found that levonorgesterol alone is just as effective as the combination of hormones used in PREVEN. In addition to being just as effective, the new regimen causes fewer unpleasant side effects including nausea and vomiting.

Women’s Capital Corp. will serve as the U.S. distributor of Plan B, and hopes to soon make its emergency contraceptive regimen available throughout the nation. In its initial distribution, Plan B will be available by prescription through Planned Parenthood Clinics and through pharmacists Washington state. For more information, call 888-NOT-2-LATE or go to www.go2planb.com.

Sources:

New York Times - July 29, 1999

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