Update on Emergency Contraception


  • Patricia Aikins Murphy CNM, DrPH

Patricia Aikins Murphy, CNM, DrPH, College of Nursing, University of Utah, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112. E-mail: Patricia.murphy@nurs.utah.edu


Emergency contraception (EC) is any method used after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. This article provides an overview of the history of EC methods and describes the current availability of oral and intrauterine EC. Oral forms include the Yuzpe regimen (combining ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel), levonorgestrel-only pills, and ulipristal acetate, which is a new emergency contraceptive drug recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The copper T-380A intrauterine device can also be used for EC. Information about dosing, timing, access, and other considerations in the provision of EC is covered. Clinicians should be aware of all available options in order to counsel women in need of EC appropriately.