Hormonal Emergency Contraception

Melissa Sanders Wanner, Pharm.D., Rachel L. Couchenour, Pharm.D.


Pharmacotherapy. 2002;22(1) 

In This Article

Dosing Regimens

The traditional Yuzpe regimen consists of two doses of combined oral contraceptive pills that total ethinyl estradiol 200 µg and norgestrel 2 mg. A number of hormonal contraceptive products that contain ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel or levonorgestrel alone are available for emergency contraception. In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first emergency contraceptive kit, Preven (Gynetics, Inc, Somerville, NJ). The kit contains four tablets, each containing ethinyl estradiol 50 µg and levonorgestrel 0.25 mg, a urine pregnancy test, and a patient information booklet.[26] The urine pregnancy test is intended to identify women who are already pregnant from intercourse that occurred at an earlier date. A levonorgestrel-only product, Plan B (Women's Capital Corporation, Bellevue, WA), was approved by the FDA in 1999. Plan B contains two tablets each containing levonorgestrel 0.75 mg. A pregnancy test is not included with the Plan B product.[27] The first dose of any hormonal emergency contraceptive product should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse and the second taken 12 hours later. The first dose should be given as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.[25]


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