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Postpill: Uses, Dosage, Safety, Side effects & Cost

Postpill: Uses, Composition, Mechanism of Action,  Effects on Menses,  Dosage, Safety, Side effects, Overdosage, and Cost

Composition

Each uncoated tablet contains:

Levonorgestrel USP………1.5 mg

Excipients. ………q.s

Uses/indications

Postpill is an emergency contraceptive for prevention of pregnancy following unprotected intercourse or if you were forced into having sex (rape), or after a known or suspected contraceptive failure such as: when a condom breaks, or you missed taking your regular contraceptive pills or iinjections or you did not abstain from sex during your fertile period etc.  Postpill can be used by women of all reproductive ages (15 -49years) including adolescents.

Mechanism of Action

Postpill mainly acts by preventing the release of egg (ovulation ) or by stopping the egg and sperm from meeting (fertilization), through altering tubal transport of sperm and egg.  In addition , it may inhibit implantation by changing the endometrium but it is not effective once the process of implantation has started.

Contra-indications:

This means when you must not take postpill. You should not take this drug if you are pregnant or suspect to be pregnant. Also do not take if you react to levonogestrel.

Dosage and Administration

Take “ONE TABLET ONLY” of POSTPILL orally to prevent pregnancy as soon as possible , not later than 72 hours (3 days)  after unprotected sex,  rape,  or suspected contraceptive failure. The earlier you take post pill the more effective it will be.  If you vomit within two hours of taking the tablet,  you should repeat the dose.  It can be used used at anytime during your period .

What happens if you have unprotected sexual intercourse more than once in 72 hours?

Emergency contraceptives like post pill prevent pregnancy by delaying ovulation and most effective effective within the first 24 hours (1day) of unprotected sex . As a result , if you have taken the drug and have unprotected sex again after 24hours , you may be at risk of pregnancy because active sperms could be waiting in the Fallopian tubes when the egg is eventually released,  therefore another dose of postpill can be taken to ensure prevention of pregnancy.  Please not that even if multiple acts of unprotected sex occur in a day,  postpill should not be taken more than once within 24 hours. Subsequently, it is recommended you begin a regular short or long term method of contraception the day after taking postpill and should consult a doctor for advice on choosing a method.

What happens if you take post pill more than once in your cycle?

Repeat use of post pill or emergency contraceptives poses no known health risks,  it is medically safe.  You may have menstrual changes such as shorter/longer cycles and have heavier/lighter period than normal and other side effects mentioned in this article should be anticipated. However,  it is recommended that you use a regular,  ongoing method of contraception as it is the most effective way of preventing getting pregnant , so subsequently,  you should consult a healthcare professional for advice on choosing a regular method.

How safe is post pill?

Extensive research and many years of monitoring have shown that emergency contraceptives such as post pill are safe. They do not affect fertility or increase the risk of cancer or ectopic pregnancy or cause long term side effects.  However,  like all drugs they can have side effects,  but these are usually minor temporary adverse effects such as irregular menstruation,  nausea,  vomiting and so on.  Emergency contraception is a safe and important options for preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Side effects:

The following side effects may occur in about 4% of women on emergency contraceptives such as postpill: Menstrual changes e. g. heavier or lighter bleeding,  nausea , lower abdominal pain,  weight gain,  fatigue,  headache,  dizziness , breast tenderness,  delay of menses  (>7 days).  These symptoms may be treated symptomatically and usually resolve within few days.

Postpill: A satchet contains a single tablet. Swallow once after unprotected sex
Credit: DKT

Precautions

Effects on Menses

Some women may experience spotting a few days after taking postpill but this is not your period and menstrual bleeding may occur earlier or later than expected by a few days . If your menses is delayed beyond one week of expected date, consider the possibility of pregnancy.

Existing Pregnancy

Postpill is not effective in terminating an existing pregnancy . It is NOT an abortion tablet.

Ectopic Pregnancy

A history of ectopic pregnancy is not a  contraindication to use of the his emergency contraceptive method.  If you develop severe lower abdominal pain or still become pregnant after taking the pill,  you may have ectopic pregnancy,  and should seek immediate medical intervention .

Does postpill protect against STI/HIV?

No.  It does not protect against HIV infection or other sexually transmitted infections,  use condom.

Drug Interactions

Drugs or herbal products that induce enzymes such as CYP3A4, may decrease the effectiveness of progestin-only emergency contraceptives such as postpill. Such drugs include barbiturates,  cabamazepine,  ciclosporin,  griseofulvin,  oxcarbazepine,  phenytoin,  ritonavir,  rifampicin,  topiramate,  St. John’s Wort and so on.

Overdosage

No serious risk associated with overdose., although the common side effects of nausea and associated vomiting should be expected.

Storage

Store below 30°C away from direct light.

Presentation/Package

Each pack contain a single blister with one tablet of postpill (levonogestrel 1.5mg) along with a package insert.

Cost

In both local and big cities in Nigeria , ppostpill coat between #400 – #800 ($1 – $2) depending on the city and location..

Dispelling some myths about postpill

1. It will not damage your womb

2. Postpill will NOT make you infertile in future

3. It will not stop you from getting pregnant if you want to.

4. Not an abortion pill

5. Does not protect against HIV,  hepatitis b and other stds.

Credit: culled from Postpill.

This post was last modified on December 17, 2019 9:57 pm

Udomoh Eshemokha

I am a practicing medical doctor, a philosopher, critical thinker, a globalist, a patriot, SEO expert and a patient blogger.

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Udomoh Eshemokha