Emergency contraception

A. Emergency contraception may be considered for a patient who reports a contraceptive failure, such as condom breakage, or other circumstances of unprotected sexual intercourse, such as a sexual assault. If menstruation does not occur within 21 days, a pregnancy test should be performed. B. Emergency contraception is effective for up to 72 hours after intercourse.

Oral Contraceptives Used for Emergency Contraception

The first two pills should be taken within 72 hours after sexual intercourse, followed 12 hours later by the remaining two pills.

Contraceptive

Pills per dose

Ovral

Two white pills

Alesse (2 or 28-day formulation)

Five pink pills

Levlen

Four light-orange pills

Lo/Ovral

Four white pills

Nordette

Four light-orange pills

Triphasil

Four light-yellow pills

Tri-Levlen

Four light-yellow pills

Preven

Two blue pills

C. The major side effect of emergency contraception with oral contraceptives is nausea, which occurs in 50% of women; vomiting occurs in 20%. If the patient vomits within two hours after ingesting a dose, the dose should be repeated. An antiemetic, such as phenothiazine (Compazine), 5-10 mg PO, or trimethobenzamide (Tigan), 100-250 mg, may be taken one hour before administration of the contraceptive.

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