morning-after pill

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morning-after pill popular name for an emergency postcoital contraceptive containing a high dose of the hormones usually found in an oral contraceptive, either an estrogen plus a progestational agent, or the latter alone; used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse occurs, or after a contraceptive method fails during intercourse, administered orally.

morning-after pill (MAP),

an oral drug that, when taken by a woman within 2-3 days after intercourse, reduces the probability that she will become pregnant.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two regimens for postcoital contraception. The Yuzpe regimen consists of a combination of progestogen (levonorgestrol 0.25 mg or norgestrel 0.5 mg) and estrogen (ethinyl estradiol 100 mcg) taken at once and repeated in 12 hours. Alternatively, two doses of levonorgestrel 0.75 mg may be taken without estrogen. With either regimen, the first dose should preferably be taken within 24 hours after intercourse, and not more than 72 hours after. The Yuzpe method reduces the likelihood of pregnancy by about 57%, the levonorgestrel method by 85%. About 50% of women experience uterine bleeding within 1 week and most of the rest within 3 weeks unless conception has occurred. If taken early enough, the hormones may prevent fertilization by altering tubal function or exerting toxicity against the ovum. Probably, however, they usually act by preventing implantation of a fertilized ovum. This is not emergency contraception but rather chemical abortion. The incidence of nausea is about 40% with levonorgestrel alone and about 65% with the Yuzpe regimen. Headache, fluid retention, and breast tenderness may also occur. This procedure is contraindicated in women for whom oral contraceptives are contraindicated, such as those with hypertension or a history of stroke or thromboembolic disease. The short course of high-dose hormones probably does not interrupt a pregnancy after implantation has occurred, and there is no evidence that fetal harm has occurred when such a pregnancy has continued to term. However, hormone use is contraindicated in known pregnancy or if the woman has had unprotected intercourse within the preceding 3-10 days. An application for over-the-counter marketing of levonorgestrel has been denied by the FDA.

morning-after pill

Any of various oral drugs that are intended to prevent pregnancy for up to five days after sexual intercourse by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, preventing fertilization of an egg, or preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.

morning-after pill

Etymology: AS, morgen + aefter + pilian, to peel,
Usage notes: (informal)
a large dose of an estrogen, given orally, over a short period, to a woman within 24 to 72 hours after sexual intercourse to prevent conception, most commonly in an emergency such as rape or incest. The woman is warned that the medication may cause the formation of clots, severe nausea and vomiting, and teratogenic and carcinogenic effects on the fetus if pregnancy already exists or if contraception fails. The availability of mifepristone provides an alternative and |mf100% effective method for preventing pregnancy with fewer side effects; a single dose prevents pregnancy by preventing implantation.

emergency contraception

A popular term for secondary “contraception” used in the event of failure or suboptimal “primary contraception”.

morning-after pill

Emergency contraception, interception pill Gynecology A high-dose estrogen given in the early post-ovulatory period to prevent implantation of a potentially fertilized egg after unprotected intercourse. See Contraception, DES, Norplant, Pearl index, RU 486.

morning-after pill

References in periodicals archive ?
Until now, the age limit was 16, and the morning-after pill was given only to women who had been raped.
The morning-after pill contains the hormone levonorgestrel and prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation or fertilization of an egg.
In neighboring Peru, a nonprofit Catholic organization won an injunction blocking free distribution of the morning-after pill in public clinics in September 2005.
High St chemists chain Superdrug were last night forced to make an embarrassing U-turn over their decision to sell the morning-after pill online from their website.
In the United States, promotion of the morning-after pill has avoided facing the truth about its abortifacient properties.
Morning-after pills are not the same as the much-publicized French abortion pill, RU-486, which is not generally used for emergency contraception.
Monday's action put the federal government's official stamp of approval on the morning-after pill regimen, increasing the likelihood that more doctors and patients will use it.
As part of a government initiative aimed at thinning out a generation of Vicky Pollards, Lutterworth has issued 345 morning-after pills in four years.
They shouldn't just be giving out these morning-after pills - girls will start treating them as contraception.
THE morning-after pill may soon be sold at chemists after a Government body said it was safe to be handed out without a prescription.
In October last year research published in the the Lancet medical journal showed the morning-after pill worked best when taken within 24 hours.
It's a common misconception that the so-called morning-after pill is some kind of abortion tablet, but that's not the case.