POSTCOITAL CONTRACEPTION: Has Its Day Come?

Authors

  • Deborah Narrigan CNM, MSN

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    • Deborah Narrigan, CNM, MSN, is Assistant Professor in the Practice of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. At the time this article was written, she was also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Women's Health Network. Her participation in developing a position paper on postcoital contraception for the Network prompted this paper.


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ABSTRACT

Although postcoital contraception might aid in reducing the occurrence of some unintended pregnancies, it is seldom used. This review summarizes the development of postcoital methods, focusing on the Yuzpe regimen, the most widely used emergency contraceptive in the United States. The article discusses its mechanism of action, safety, side effects, and effectiveness. Reasons for its limited use are discussed, as are recent findings that RU 486 may be a superior postcoital agent. Finally, a protocol for integrating the Yuzpe method into nurse-midwifery practice is presented.

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