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

Update on Emergency Contraception
October 2013


EC Options for Obese Women

Analysis of data from the two randomized trials of the ulipristal acetate (UPA) and levonorgestrel (LNg) regimens found that when compared with women who were not obese, women taking LNg had a significantly higher risk of pregnancy whereas women taking UPA did not. LNG showed a rapid decrease of efficacy with increasing body mass index (BMI), reaching the point where it appeared no different from pregnancy rates expected among women not using EC at a BMI of 26 compared with a BMI of 35 for UPA.1 When clinically appropriate, the copper IUD is probably the best EC option for obese women, with a failure rate of 1 per 1,000.2

One- And Two-Pill EC Options

In August 2013, Plan B One-Step became available without prescription to males and females with no age restriction. In most pharmacies it is located on the shelf in the family planning aisle; some pharmacies may choose to keep it in a locked cabinet.One-pill generics (My Way and Next Choice One Dose) will soon be available on the shelf for consumers aged 17 and older, but this change has not taken effect yet; women aged 16 and younger still need a prescription. Two-pill generics (Levonorgestrel Tablets) are still available only behind the counter without prescription if you are 17 or older; younger women need a prescription. Price may be a barrier (see

The Full History of Plan B Going OTC

An FDA advisory committee voted 23-4 in December 2003 that Plan B be switched from Rx to OTC, but the FDA rejected an OTC switch in May 2004 in an unprecedented repudiation of such an overwhelmingly positive advisory committee recommendation. The independent Government Accountability Office concluded that the decision process was highly unusual and that the decision was made with atypical involvement from top agency officials and may well have been made months before it was formally announced.3 Barr Laboratories submitted an amended application in July 2004 to make Plan B an Rx drug for females <16 and OTC otherwise. The FDA had until January 21, 2005 to respond. On July 15, 2005, HHS Secretary Leavitt promised that FDA would act on Barr’s application by September 1, 2005 to ensure a vote on Senate confirmation of Lester Crawford as FDA Commissioner. On August 26, 2005, FDA announced that Plan B was safe for OTC use by women ?17. But the FDA announced an indefinite delay in reaching a decision, citing three concerns: (1) can Plan B be both Rx and OTC depending on age?; (2) can Rx and OTC versions of the same drug be marketed in the same package?; and (3) can an age restriction be enforced? The FDA also announced a 60-day public comment period on first two concerns. The FDA failed to articulate clear criteria or explicit timetable for a final decision.

This indefinite delay was heavily criticized.4 Finally, on August 24, 2006, the FDA approved the nonprescription sale of Plan B for women and men aged 18 and older. This age cutoff was not chosen based on any medical evidence that young women could not use emergency contraceptive pills safely or correctly, but rather, according to the FDA’s Steven Galson, because it was easy for pharmacists to remember and enforce, since it is the same age limit placed on tobacco and nicotine-replacement products.

In January 2005, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit in federal court against the FDA, alleging that the agency’s failure to approve Plan B for over-the-counter use impermissibly denied women access to EC. In March 2009, The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in a blistering decision ordered the agency to reconsider its decision. It also ordered the FDA to act within 30 days to extend over-the-counter access to 17-year-olds. Judge Edward R. Korman was exceedingly blunt, stating that FDA had “acted in bad faith and in response to political pressure” and “repeatedly and unreasonably delayed issuing a decision on Plan B” and that the FDA’s denial of nonprescription access to 17-year-olds “lacks all credibility” and was based on “fanciful and wholly unsubstantiated ‘enforcement’ concerns.”5 On April 22, 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would clear the way for Plan B’s manufacturer to make it available without a prescription to 17-year-olds. And on July 13, 2009, the FDA approved Plan B One Step as a nonprescription drug for women and men aged 17 and over. On February 7, 2011, Teva submitted actual-use study data and label-comprehension study data on females <18 to the FDA. On December 7, 2011, the FDA was set to approve OTC status for Plan B with no age restriction based on the studies submitted by Teva.However, this action was overruled by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. Teva then filed an amended application to make Plan B One-Step available without prescription to consumers aged 15 and over and to allow it to be available in the family planning section of a pharmacy rather than behind the pharmacy counter; proof of age would still be required at checkout. On April 30, 2013, the FDA approved this amended application. In the meanwhile, on April 4, 2013, U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman ordered the FDA to allow over-the-counter sales of LNg ECPs with no age restriction. In a scathing rebuke to the Obama administration, he stated that “the secretary’s action was politically motivated, scientifically unjustified, and contrary to agency precedent.”6 On May 1, 2013, the Department of Justice announcedthatwouldappealhisruling.The Department of Justice appealed and asked for a stay of the orderuntil the case washeard. On June 5, 2013, 2nd Circuit Court of Appealsorderedthat the FDA must complywith Judge Korman’sruling to make 2-pill formulation of LNG EC availablewithout restriction butgranted astayregarding 1-pill formulation.7 On June 10, in a letter to Judge Korman, the Department of Justicesaiditwouldcomplywithhisdemandthat Plan B One-Step be made available OTC with no age restriction.8 Twodayslater, Judge Kormanapprovedthe Obama Administration’s plan to make Plan B One-Step (and only Plan B One-Step) available OTC with no age restriction.9

1 Glasier A, Cameron ST, Blithe D, Scherrer B, Mathe H, Levy D, Gainer E, Ulmann A. Can we identify women at risk of pregnancy despite using emergency contraception? Data from randomized trials of ulipristal acetate and levonorgestrel. Contraception. 2011;84:363-7.

2 Cleland K, Zhu H, Goldstruck N, Cheng L, Trussell J. The efficacy of IUDs for emergency contraception: a systematic review of 35 years of experience.Hum Reprod.2012;27:1994-2000.

3 Decision process to deny initial application for over-the-counter marketing of the emergency contraceptive drug Plan B was unusual. Washington DC: Government Accountability Office, 2004. Available at Accessed 7 June 2010.

4 Wood AJJ, Drazen JM, Greene MF. A sad day for science at the FDA.N Engl J Med. 2005;353:1197-8.

5 Decision available at:

6 Decision available at

7 Decision available at

8 Letter available at

9 Memorandumavailableat

James Trussell, PhD, Professor of Economic and Public Affairs, Princeton University.