Emergency contraception, also known as postcoital contraception, is therapy used to prevent pregnancy after an unprotected or inadequately protected act of sexual intercourse. Common indications for emergency contraception include contraceptive failure (eg, condom breakage or missed doses of oral contraceptives) and failure to use any form of contraception (1–31–31–3). Although oral emergency contraception was first described in the medical literature in the 1960s, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first dedicated product for emergency contraception in 1998. Since then, several new products have been introduced. Methods of emergency contraception include oral administration of combined estrogen–progestin, progestin only, or selective progesterone receptor modulators and insertion of a copper intrauterine device (IUD). Many women are unaware of the existence of emergency contraception, misunderstand its use and safety, or do not use it when a need arises (4–64–64–6). The purpose of this Practice Bulletin is to review the evidence for the efficacy and safety of available methods of emergency contraception and to increase awareness of these methods among obstetrician–gynecologists and other gynecologic providers.
Copyright September 2015 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the Internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.
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Emergency contraception. Practice Bulletin No. 152. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2015;126:e1–11.
Committee on Practice Bulletins—Gynecology. This Practice Bulletin was developed by the Committee on Practice Bulletins–Gynecology with the assistance of Elizabeth Raymond, MD; Archana Pradhan, MD; and Lisa Keder, MD, MPH. The information is designed to aid practitioners in making decisions about appropriate obstetric and gynecologic care. These guidelines should not be construed as dictating an exclusive course of treatment or procedure. Variations in practice may be warranted based on the needs of the individual patient, resources, and limitations unique to the institution or type of practice.