What is emergency postcoital contraception?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Kirsten J Sasaki, MD; more...
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There are several different formulations of emergency postcoital contraception currently available in the United States. Most options are oral formulations that are most effective when taken immediately after unprotected intercourse but are effective up to 120 hours after intercourse. [1] Options include the following:

  • Progestin

  • Combined estrogen and progestin (Yuzpe regimen)

  • Selective progesterone receptor modulator (ulipristal acetate)

The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is the most effective method of emergency contraception [1] and can be placed up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse. [2]

Emergency contraception is not effective after implantation has occurred, [3] and the progestin only and combine estrogen-progestin method do not increase risk for current pregnancies. [4, 5]

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