New 5-day morning-after pill
Friday 29 January 2010
A new emergency contraceptive pill can prevent unwanted pregnancies up to 5 days after unprotected sex and has higher rates of effectiveness than the current 3 day pill.
The Ellaone tablet is said to work 98% of the time even if taken on the 5th day, outperforming the currently popular levonorgestrel which is only 58% effective by the third day.
This new pill is available only on prescription and as a result is not well known among many women in the UK. However, it can be obtained on the NHS, even to under-16s.
Speaking about this new contraceptive, researcher Dr Anna Glasier says: ‘It is still a brand new drug and has not had much publicity so is not well known by the public. Women prefer to buy emergency contraception over the counter rather than go to their GP.’
Ellaone, which has been available in Europe since May 2009 and in the UK since October, currently has no known side effects and it is thought by experts that it could become available over the counter within two to three years.
It is believed that by making British teenagers more aware of this form of emergency contraception may help to reduce the amount of unwanted teenage pregnancies. Britain currently has the 4th highest rate of teenage mothers among the most developed countries in the world.
However, critics of the new drug are claiming that this new longer period of post-sex safety could lead to a more relaxed view on the use of condoms, resulting in an increase in sexually transmitted infections.
What are your thoughts on the new pill? Should this be embraced by us women as a way to further prevent unwanted pregnancies? Or are we opening the door to a more relaxed view to safe sex?
Tell us what you think!
By Lorraine Crowther