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Emergency Family Planning (ECP, emergency contraceptive pills)

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HealthWiki > New Where There Is No Doctor > Family Planning > Emergency Family Planning (ECP, emergency contraceptive pills)


Family Planning: Medicines

You can use emergency contraceptive pills or some brands of regular birth control pills to prevent pregnancy within 5 days after unprotected sex. The number of pills you need to take depends on which hormones and the amount of hormones each pill contains. This chart lists only a few common brands for each type of pill. Make sure you know the type and amount of hormone in the pills before you use them. The chart shows the total dose of hormones needed and how many pills you would need to take to reach that dose. There are many brands of pills, and some brand names are used for more than one type of pill.

Common side effects of ECP are headaches, nausea or pain in the belly, but these should go away in a day or two. It is also normal to have slight bleeding or a change in timing of your next monthly bleeding. When using emergency family planning, the special emergency pills or the correct dose of the progestin-only pills (minipill) will cause fewer side effects than using regular combination birth control pills. If you vomit within 1 hour of taking the dose, this means you need to repeat that same dose. Never mix different kinds of emergency contraceptive or other birth control pills together because that could make them not work at all.

How to take pills for emergency family planning


HOW TO TAKE SPECIAL PILLS FOR EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
Emergency pills containing 1.5 mg (1500 mcg) levonorgestrel (NorLevo 1.5, Plan B One-Step, Postinor-1)
Total dose of 1 pill = 1.5 mg (1500 mcg) levonorgestrel
Take 1 pill, one time only
Emergency pills containing 30 mg ulipristal acetate (ella, ellaOne)
Total dose of 1 pill = 30 mg ulipristal acetate
Take 1 pill, one time only
Emergency pills containing 0.75 mg (750 mcg) levonorgestrel (NorLevo 0.75, Optinor, Postinor, Postinor-2, Plan B)
Total dose of 2 pills = 1.5 mg (1500 mcg) levonorgestrel
Take 2 pills, one time only
Emergency pills containing 0.05 mg (50 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 0.25 mg (250 mcg) levonorgestrel (Tetragynon, Neogynon, Nordiol)
Total dose of 4 pills = 0.2 mg (200 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 1.0 mg (1000 mcg) levonorgestrel
First take 2 pills Then take 2 more pills 12 hours later


HOW TO TAKE COMBINATION PILLS FOR EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
With a 28-day packet of 28 combination pills, use any of the first 21 pills to come up with the dose below but do not use the last 7 pills because they may be reminder pills and not contain any hormones.
Combination pills containing 0.03 mg (30 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg (150 mcg) evonorgestrel (Anna, Combination 3, Gestrelan, Microgynon, Microgynon-30, Nordette, Roselle)
Total dose of 8 pills = 0.24 mg (240 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 1.2 mg (1200 mcg) levonorgestrel
First take 4 pills Then take 4 more pills 12 hours later
Combination pills containing 0.03 mg (30 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 0.3 mg (300 mcg) norgestrel (Lo-Femenal, Lo/Ovral)
Total dose of 8 pills = 0.24 mg (240 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 2.4 mg (2400 mcg) norgestrel
First take 4 pills Then take 4 more pills 12 hours later
Combination pills containing 0.02 mg (20 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 0.1 mg (100 mcg) levonorgestrel (Alesse, Loette, Lutera, Miranova)
Total dose of 10 pills = 0.2 mg (200 mcg) ethinyl estradiol and 1 mg (1000 mcg) levonorgestrel
First take 5 pills Then take 5 more pills 12 hours later


HOW TO TAKE PROGESTIN-ONLY PILLS (MINIPILLS) FOR EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
In the packets of progestin-only minipills, every pill has the same dose of hormone.
Progestin-only pills (minipills) containing 0.075 mg (75 mcg) norgestrel (Ovrette, Minicon)
Total dose of 40 pills = 3 mg (3000 mcg) norgestrel
Take 40 pills one time only (many pills, but safe)
Progestin-only pills (minipills) containing 0.0375 mg (37.5 mcg) levonorgestrel (Neogest, Norgeal)
Total dose of 40 pills = 1.5 mg (1500 mcg) levonorgestrel
Take 40 pills one time only (many pills, but safe)
Progestin-only pills (minipills) containing 0.03 mg (30 mcg) levonorgestrel (Microlut, Microval, Nortrel)
Total dose of 50 pills = 1.5 mg (1500 mcg) levonorgestrel
Take 50 pills one time only (many pills, but safe)



This page was updated:28 Aug 2017
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