Emergency Contraception: A Primer for Pediatric Providers

Alana L. Clements; Alison Moriarty Daley


Pediatr Nurs. 2006;32(2):147-153. 

In This Article

Types of Emergency Contraception

There are multiple forms of EC available in the United States; the most commonly used is Plan B, which is a progestin-only formulation (Weismiller, 2004). If Plan B is not available, combination estrogen-progestin oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) can be used for the same purpose. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 13 OCPs for this purpose. Tables explaining the appropriate use of OCPs as EC are widely available to providers and are publicly available on the Internet (FDA, 1997; Yuzpe, Thurlow, Ramzy, & Leyshon, 1974) (see Table 1 , Emergency Contraception Regimens by Brand). Plan B is more desirable than combined estrogen-progestin EC because it is more effective and has a lower side effect profile, but either method has the potential to drastically reduce pregnancy following unprotected sex and should be available to teens. A third method of EC involves the insertion of a copper intrauterine device within 5-7 days of unprotected intercourse, but it is less commonly used - particularly among adolescents - and beyond the scope of this article.


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