FDA Reviews EllaOne, Emergency Contraceptive Effective Up to Five Days

A new emergency contraceptive, to be sold under the brand name ellaOne, is up for review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this Thursday. According to USA Today, the pill, designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, has been proven in studies to be more effective than the current leading emergency contraceptive, levonrgestrel. A panel of outside experts will decide whether to approve the drug for the US market. EllaOne, made by French company HRA Pharma, is available with a prescription in Europe. If approved, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. would distribute it in the United States. Levonorgestrel, most notably sold under the brand name Plan B, must be taken within three days of sexual activity. When taking EllaOne, the window of effectiveness expands to five days. Medical News Today reports that ellaOne is shown to have more consistent efficacy compared to Plan B. USA Today reported that women who took ellaOne had a 1.8 percent chance of pregnancy compared 2.6 percent for those who took Plan B. Anti-choice advocates argue that ellaOne is akin to the abortion pill, mifepristone, which is designed to terminate already existing pregnancies According to Reuters, supporters of ellaOne agree that the drug is chemically similar to mifepristone, but one dose will not interfere with existing pregnancies. “There’s just no evidence that it causes abortion,”said Dr. Paul Fine, a Baylor College of Medicine professor and the medical director for Planned Parenthood in Houston and Southeast Texas.


Reuters 6/15/10; USA Today 1/28/10; Medical News Today 5/28/10

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