Emergency contraception in Canada: An overview and recent developments

Pancham, Anna; Dunn, Sheila
September 2007
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2007, Vol. 16 Issue 3/4, p129
Academic Journal
Emergency contraception (EC) is used to decrease the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. There are two types of EC: emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), and the post- coital copper intrauterine device (IUD). ECPs are more commonly used and can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75- 89%. Although they may be effective if used up to 5 days after intercourse, ECPs are more effective the sooner they are used. This medication is extremely safe and will not harm an existing pregnancy. Repeated use of ECPs poses no known health risks; however, ongoing forms of birth control will be more effective. ECPs do not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections. Improving access to ECPs is a priority for health care advocates. In Canada in 2005, the regulatory status of Plan B®, the most commonly used ECP, changed to enable access without a prescription. As a Schedule II medication, a woman needs only to request it from a pharmacist. Although this has removed one barrier, in some provinces it has resulted in a new barrier; increased cost due to the addition of a fee for counselling by a pharmacist. Some have advocated further deregulation to "on the shelf" (which would not require consultation with a pharmacist), while others maintain that the assessment and counselling by a pharmacist are essential for safe and appropriate use. To further promote appropriate use of emergency contraception, strategies are needed to eliminate barriers to use, increase emergency contraception knowledge and awareness, and assist women to identify their risk for pregnancy.


Related Articles

  • History and Efficacy of Emergency Contraception: Beyond Coca-Cola. Ellertson, Charlotte // Family Planning Perspectives;Mar/Apr96, Vol. 28 Issue 2, p44 

    The article presents information on the history and effectiveness of emergency contraceptives that are used to reduce the chances of pregnancy. Most contraceptives were used during sexual intercourse, while a few were also used within a short time after unprotected intercourse. Methods such as...

  • Emergency contraception: America's best kept secret. Stone, Mardia Harris; Westley, Elizabeth; Cullins, Vanessa E. // Contemporary OB/GYN;Mar2002, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p106 

    Focuses on emergency contraceptives. Reasons why the term emergency contraceptive is preferred than morning after pill; Effectiveness of copper intrauterine device in reducing the risk of pregnancy; Availability of emergency contraceptives in the U.S.

  • Emergency contraception. Oliver, Julie // Pulse;Apr2014, p74 

    The article focuses on the emergency contraception in relation with the impact of the unplanned pregnancy in England. Topics discussed include the three licensed products included in the guidelines published by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare in August 2011, which include...

  • Appendix F: Classifications for Copper Intrauterine Devices for Emergency Contraception.  // MMWR Recommendations & Reports;6/18/2010, Vol. 59 Issue RR-4, p64 

    A variety of information on classification of copper intrauterine devices (Cu-IUD) for emergency contraception, and risks of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV that relate to the report "U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use 2010," adapted from World Health...

  • Continuous intrauterine copper contraception for 3 years: comparison of replacement at 2 years with continuation of use. Newton, John; Illingworth, Ruth; Elias, Julian; McEwan, John // British Medical Journal;1/22/1977, Vol. 1 Issue 6055, p197 

    Reports the effectiveness of copper 7 intrauterine device (IUD) as a means of contraception for women in Great Britain. Length of useful life of a copper 7; Effects of the IUD on pregnancy rate; Problems with IUD during the first six months of use.

  • Efficacy of the simultaneous use of condoms and spermicides. Kestelman, Philip; Trussell, James // Family Planning Perspectives;Sep/Oct91, Vol. 23 Issue 5, p226 

    This article examines the efficacy of condoms and spermicides used correctly and consistently at every act of intercourse. Consumers may safely place more confidence in good-quality condoms, when these are used carefully and conscientiously along with spermicides. Consistent, conscientious use...

  • Contraceptive Practices and Trends in France. Toulemon, Laurent; Leridon, Henri // Family Planning Perspectives;May/Jun98, Vol. 30 Issue 3, p114 

    Context: Contraceptive use has been legal in France for the past 30 years, and patterns of use changed substantially from the 1960s to the 1980s. Given the rapidity with which use patterns change and the possible impact of rising concern about infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted...

  • Use of IUDs for emergency contraception: current perspectives. McKay, Rebecca; Gilbert, Lynne // Open Access Journal of Contraception;2014, Vol. 5, p53 

    Emergency contraception is an essential intervention for the prevention of unplanned pregnancy worldwide. The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is highly effective at preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Unfortunately, its usage in this context is low and far...

  • The morning after pill as an 'easy' option: the implication for STIs. Shiely, Frances // Sexually Transmitted Infections;Mar2013, Vol. 89 Issue 2, p155 

    The author reflects on the use of emergency contraception (EC) or morning after pills by sexually active women in Great Britain. She notes that there are few studies on EC. She cites an article by Eleonor Mills featured in "The Sunday Times" about the changing attitude on the use of EC and its...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics