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For further information, see CMDT Part 18-12: Contraception

Key Features

  • Information on clinics or individual clinicians providing emergency contraception in the United States may be obtained by calling 1-888-668-2528

  • All victims of sexual assault should be offered emergency contraception



  • The following methods should be started within 120 h after unprotected coitus:

    • Levonorgestrel, 1.5 mg given orally in single dose

      • Has a 1–2% failure rate when taken within 72 hours

      • Available in the United States prepackaged as Plan B

    • If the levonorgestrel regimen is not available, a combination oral contraceptive containing ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel given twice in 12 hours may be used

      • Failure rate of these regimens is approximately 3%

      • Anti-nausea medication is often necessary

    • Ulipristal, 30 mg orally as a single dose

      • Has been shown to be more effective than levonorgestrel, especially when used between 72 and 120 hours, particularly among overweight women

      • It is available by prescription in the United States and western Europe

Intrauterine Devices

  • Copper-bearing intrauterine devices (IUDs)

    • Prevents pregnancy when inserted within 5 days after one episode of unprotected midcycle coitus

    • Most effective available method for emergency contraception, with first cycle pregnancy rates of 0.1%

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