Substance use disorder: contraceptive options counseling

What’s New in Contraception?

Contraceptive Technology Conference!

Biologic sexism of STIs

Excess breast cancer deaths after COVID-19

Contraception for patients with medical conditions

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Treating vulvodynia

Puzzling Over the Hurt Down-Under

Serious Mental Illness and Contraception

New 13-Cycle Vaginal Contraceptive System

The Future of Family Planning in Post-COVID America

New ASCCP Guidelines: Implications for FP

On the alert: mood disorders during 2020 stressors

Sex in the Time of COVID-19

Challenges old and new during the pandemic

Reproductive health in the time of Covid-19

Talking about toys

Missed Pills: The Problem That Hasn’t Gone Away

Find the “yes! . . . and” rather than “no” or “but”

Digital Family Planning: the Future is Now

Irregular Bleeding Due to Contraceptives

When she’s low on libido…

Ouch! Best approaches to menstrual pain

Contraceptive efficacy: understanding how user and method characteristics play their part

Strategizing treatment for chronic heavy menstrual bleeding


Untangling the literature on obesity and contraception

High tech apps for no-tech FABM

Menstrual exacerbation of other medical conditions

From Princeton University: Thomas James Trussell (1949-2018)

The Short and Long of IUD Use Duration

Selecting a Method When Guidance Isn’t Clear-cut

Healthcare in the Time of Digital Expansion

The Scoop on Two New FDA-Approved Contraceptive Methods

Pregnancy of unknown location—meeting the challenge

Big “yes” (with caveats) to CHCs during perimenopause

The role of IUDs (LNG IUDs, too!) in emergency contraception

Combined pills’ effect on mood disorders

Abortion in the U.S.: safe, declining, and under threat

Hope for ovarian cancer screening test

Breast cancer still a small risk with some hormonal contraceptives

New treatment modality for BV

Record rate of HPV-related throat cancer

Viruses in semen potentially transmissible

Don’t Abstain from Your Role in Abstinence

Teens births declining but geographic ‘hotspots’ defy trend

Online Medical Abortion Service Effective and Safe

Do Women Really Need to Wait That Long?

Reassuring news on depression and OC use

PMDD: Genetic clues may lead to improved treatment

Breast cancer risk when there is a family history

Body weight link to breast and endometrial cancers (and 11 others)

Family Planning in 2017 and Beyond

Make Me Cry: Depression Link (Again)?

Managing implant users’ bleeding and spotting

Zika: Updated guidance for providers

Pharmacist-prescribed contraceptives

Hot off the press! 2016 MEC and SPR

Zika virus fears prompt increased request for abortion in nations outlawing abortions

Opioid use epidemic among reproductive-age women

Good news on the family planning home front!

War Against Planned Parenthood Hurts Women

Win-win for both treatment and prevention

Center of the Storm


Menopause, mood, mental acuity, and hormone therapy

Emergency contraception for teens

Postpartum Contraception: Now, Not Later

Reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, or sexually transmitted diseases: “a rose by any other name…”

Are we practicing what we preach?

Be alert to VTE in hormonal contraceptive users

LARC among teens increased 15-fold, but not enough

Brain cancer and hormonal contraception

Free tools: Easy access to the US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use

Alcohol consumption when pregnancy is unwanted or unintended

Latest Data on Contraceptive Use in the United States

LateBreaker sampler from Contraceptive Technology conference

Emergency Contraceptive Pill Efficacy and BMI/Body Weight

Handout on Unintended Pregnancy and Contraceptive Choice

Ask About Withdrawal (Really!)

Rules to Practice By: Safety First and Cleanliness is Close to. . .

What’s Vanity Fair Got Against the NuvaRing?

Promising New Treatment for Hepatitis C

Numbers matter, so make them simple for patients

The Recession’s Effect on Unintended Pregnancies

Lessons Learned from the Contraceptive CHOICE Project: The Hull LARC Initiative

Applying the “New” Cervical Cytology Guidelines in Your Practice

Acute Excessive Uterine Bleeding: New Management Strategies

Medical indications for IUD use in teens

Whatever happened to PID?

Update on Emergency Contraception New and Improved

Emergency contraception for teens
October 2015


More teens report having used emergency contraception than ever before, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Since 2002, the rate of use jumped nearly three-fold; in 2002, only 8% of sexually active female teens reported having used EC at least once. Compare that figure with the 14% reporting EC use at least one time in 2006-2010 and the 22% reporting use in 2011-2013.[1] These findings were based on interviews with about 2,000 teens ages 15 to 19.

Interestingly, although the use of EC rose, the use of most other contraceptive methods such as condoms and pills remained stable over that time. Likewise, the percentage (45%) of female (and male) teens saying that they were sexually active also remained stable.

Why the uptick in EC use? Commentators mention increased awareness and increased accessibility. In 2014, the FDA approved unrestricted over-the-counter access to all one-dose LNG EC products. That means women faced no additional step in having to visit a clinician in order to obtain a prescription. James Trussell thinks that teens’ reported ever-use of EC is probably limited primarily to LNG-containing pills, rather than the other options: the copper-IUD or ulipristal acetate

Under scrutiny is whether the LNG EC provides any effective protection to women at higher weights. In late 2013, European labels on NorLevo (1.5 mg LNG), at the manufacturer’s request, warned that efficacy was reduced in women weight 75 kg or more and was not effective in women weighing 80 kg.[2] However, a year later, European authorities reversed the decision, saying the data were not robust enough after all to require the warning on the label.[3] In 2015, the data that were used to support the original European label change were published; statistical modeling based on two pooled randomized controlled trials, suggested a steep increase in pregnancy rates: “The estimated pregnancy rate increased significantly from 1.4% [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.5%-3.0%] among the group of women weighing 65-75kg to 6.4% (95% CI: 3.1%-11.5%) and 5.7% (95% CI: 2.9%-10.0%) in the 75-85kg and >85kg groups, respectively.”[4]

To date, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require label warnings related to efficacy and the weight of the user. So at this time, said Trussell, there is no consensus on the question. However, with millions of women (the average American woman weighs 166 pounds [75.3 kg]) at body weights that could make LNG EC less effective or ineffective, the question pertains to many clients who will need to make choices about contraceptive protection after unprotected sexual intercourse.

What makes LNG EC so attractive is the absence of age or point-of-sale restrictions. Women can purchase their pills from stores and pharmacies, needing no prescription; brands currently available include Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Aftera, Next Choice One Dose and My Way. AfterPill is sold online only, directly to consumers.

However, the most effective EC options are the copper IUD—the most effective and the only long-lasting option—and UPA.  These are excellent options, too, for women whose bodyweights may be associated with decreased efficacy with LNG EC. (Because these methods both require interacting with a healthcare provider–the IUD must be inserted by a trainer clinician, and UPA is prescription-only– their use may be limited.) What about those teens (and other women) at higher body weights who don’t want to use the IUD or UPA or who are not within the 5 days of protected sex? The American Society for Emergency Contraception advises that they should “still consider taking levonorgestrel ECPs, balancing this decision against factors such as price. Health care providers and pharmacists should never deny access to LNG ECPs because of a woman’s weight.”[5]

EC Chart

Adapted from: Advocates for Youth ( )

—Deborah Kowal, MA, PA, President, Contraceptive Technology Communications, Inc.

—Kelly Cleland, MPA, MPH, Office of Population Research, Princeton University and American Society for Emergency Contraception


[1] Martinez GM, Abma JC. Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing of teenagers aged 15–19 in the United States. NCHS data brief, no 209. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.

[2] Irish Medicines Board. Norlevo 1.5mg, summary of product characteristics. [] January 2014.

[3] European Medicines Agency. Levonorgestrel and ulipristal remain suitable emergency contraceptives for all women, regardless of bodyweight.


[4] Kapp N, Abitbol JL, Mathé H, et al. Effect of body weight and BMI on the efficacy of levonorgestrel emergency contraception. Contraception 2015; 91(2):97-104

[5] American Society for Emergency Contraception. Efficacy of emergency contraception and body weight. Current understanding and recommendations. January 2015.