Morning after pill
The Morning After Pill is a form of emergency contraception that may be used following unprotected sexual intercourse, or if contraception failed (e.g. broken condom). It is not meant to be used as a regular form of contraception.
The name 'Morning After Pill' seems to suggest one pill taken only during the morning after unprotected sex. This is not true. The Morning After Pill can be taken up to a maximum of 72 hours after unprotected sex. The first dose must be taken as soon as possible (within a maximum of 72 hours) after unprotected sex and a second dose exactly 12 hours later.
How the Morning After Pill works is not fully understood, but it is thought to work in one of two ways depending on where you are up to in your cycle. It can prevent pregnancy by either delaying ovulation so that sperm will not be able to survive long enough to fertilise an egg or the other mechanism is the prevention of a fertilised egg implanting in the uterus. Very high doses of hormones are used. The use of the Morning After Pill is generally considered safe as the pills are only taken for a short time.
The high dose can leave some women feeling sick and many women vomit while taking the Morning After Pill. Often women will be prescribed anti-nausea tablets at the same time to help prevent vomiting. Ideally these should be taken half an hour before the Morning After Pill. If vomiting occurs within three hours of taking either dose of the Morning After Pill, you will need to take another dose since it may not have had enough time to work. Ask your Pharmacist for guidance. Other possible side effects include sore breasts for a day or so, headaches or light bleeding.
You will need to consult your Doctor about The Morning After Pill. Your Doctor will take a full menstrual history and attempt to calculate when ovulation is/was due. Blood pressure will be monitored and the medical history will be reviewed. A pelvic examination may be carried out to ensure pregnancy has not occurred. The Doctor will address the possibility that the Morning After Pill may not have been effective and pregnancy may result. Discuss with your Doctor other, more reliable methods of contraception for future use. It is important to return to the Doctor in three to four weeks to confirm that a pregnancy has not taken place and to start an effective contraception regime.
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist
1. Be sure to drink at least two litres of water a day. Continual vomiting can lead to dehydration if fluids are not replaced.
2. If there are any doubts as to exactly how to take the medication ask your Pharmacist.
3. Ask your Pharmacist about another, more reliable form of contraception. Condoms and spermicide cream, foam or gel can be purchased at your Pharmacy. The oral contraceptive pill, an IUD, a diaphragm or Medroxyprogestrone Injection all need to be prescribed by a Doctor.