WHAT IS LEVONORGESTREL 1500MCG TABLET?
This is an emergency hormonal contraceptive (EHC) that is used to prevent pregnancy in women if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse or if your usual contraceptive method has failed.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sexual intercourse, Emergency Contraceptive Richter is thought to work by stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg; by preventing sperm from fertilising any egg that you might have already released.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THIS MEDICATION?
Levonorgestrel prevents 84% of pregnancies if it is used within 72 hours. This pill is not as effective as regular methods of contraception. Please speak to your GP, pharmacist or nurse for advice on the most suitable contraceptive method for you.
Uses / Instructions
One tablet should be taken, as soon as possible, preferably within 12 hours and no later than 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.
After using this emergency hormonal contraceptive, use of a barrier method (condom, diaphragm or cervical cap) is recommended until the next menstrual period starts.
This emergency hormonal contraceptive can be used at any time during your menstrual cycle unless menstrual bleeding is overdue by 5 or more days (when it is possible that you are already pregnant).
CAN I USE THIS MEDICATION REGULARLY?
Use of this medication is not recommended more than once in the same menstrual cycle. Repeated use of this method during the same menstrual cycle may cause irregularities in your bleeding patterns.
- If you have vomited within 3 hours of taking the pill, another tablet should be taken.
- Some medicines may stop your pill from working properly and require you to take extra contraceptive precautions. These include medications to treat epilepsy, tuberculosis, HIV and fungal infections, and ciclosporin (used to suppress the immune system) and St John’s Wort.
- Emergency Contraceptive Richter is not suitable for those under 16 years of age.
- Use of this pill is not recommended if you have previously had an ectopic pregnancy. If you use this pill and experience any symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy such as strong abdominal pain or bleeding, please contact your GP immediately.
- If you have become pregnant whilst taking this medication, contact your GP for more advice.
Emergency contraception is an occasional method. It should in no instance replace a regular contraceptive method.
Emergency contraception does not prevent a pregnancy in every instance. If there is uncertainty about the timing of the unprotected intercourse or if the woman has had unprotected intercourse more than 72 hours earlier in the same menstrual cycle, conception may have occurred. Treatment with levonorgestrel following the second act of intercourse may therefore be ineffective in preventing pregnancy. If menstrual periods are delayed by more than 5 days or abnormal bleeding occurs at the expected date of menstrual periods or pregnancy is suspected for any other reason, pregnancy should be excluded.
If pregnancy occurs after treatment with levonorgestrel, the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy should be considered. The absolute risk of ectopic pregnancy is likely to be low, as levonorgestrel prevents ovulation and fertilisation. Ectopic pregnancy may continue, despite the occurrence of uterine bleeding.
Therefore, levonorgestrel is not recommended for patients who are at risk of ectopic pregnancy (previous history of salpingitis or of ectopic pregnancy).
Levonorgestrel is not recommended in patients with severe hepatic dysfunction.
Severe malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, might impair the efficacy of levonorgestrel.
This medicinal product contains lactose monohydrate. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, total lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not take this medicine.
Limited and inconclusive data suggest that there may be reduced efficacy of Levonorgestrel with increasing body weight or body mass index (BMI) (see section 5.1). In all women, emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse, regardless of the woman’s body weight or BMI.
After levonorgestrel intake, menstrual periods are usually normal and occur at the expected date. They can sometimes occur earlier or later than expected by a few days.
Women should be advised to make a medical appointment to initiate or adopt a method of regular contraception. If no withdrawal bleed occurs in the next pill-free period following the use of levonorgestrel after regular hormonal contraception, pregnancy should be ruled out.
Repeated administration within a menstrual cycle is not advisable because of the possibility of disturbance of the cycle.
Levonorgestrel is not as effective as a conventional regular method of contraception and is suitable only as an emergency measure. Women who present for repeated courses of emergency contraception should be advised to consider long-term methods of contraception.
Use of emergency contraception does not replace the necessary precautions against sexually transmitted diseases.
As with all medication, levonorgestrel may cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
Very common side effects include headache, nausea, pain in the lower abdomen (tummy), irregular bleeding and fatigue (feeling tired). Other commonly reported effects include dizziness, diarrhoea, vomiting, irregular menstruation, delayed menstruation and breast tenderness. If your bleeding is more than 5 days late or is unusually light or unusually heavy, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
The active ingredient is levonorgestrel 1.5mg. For a full list see the patient information leaflet.