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Medicina (Buenos Aires)

versión impresa ISSN 0025-7680versión On-line ISSN 1669-9106


SARAVI, Fernando D.. Emergency contraception with levonorgestrel. Medicina (B. Aires) [online]. 2007, vol.67, n.5, pp.481-490. ISSN 0025-7680.

Emergency contraception may avoid pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or when regular contraceptive measures fail. Levonorgestrel, a synthetic gestagen, is recommended for emergency contraception as a single 1.5-mg dose or, alternatively, two 0.75-mg doses taken 12 h apart. Its efficacy is moderate, preventing about 80% of pregnancies. Efficacy is higher the earlier after unprotected intercourse the drug is taken, but it may be administered up to 5 days post-coitum. Tolerance is similar to, or better than, those of other oral emergency contraceptives. Adverse effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, breast tenderness and transient alteration of menstrual bleeding pattern. It is not known whether levonogestrel increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy when the treatment fails. Its use as an ongoing contraceptive method is discouraged. When given before the preovulatory LH peak, levonorgestrel blocks or delays ovulation. It may also affect sperm migration in the female reproductive tract and have an effect on fertilization. Although it has been often postulated, there is no evidence for an anti-implantatory effect. Acquaintance with the method is quite variable among different societies, but it remains underutilized even where it is well known. Advance provision of the drug has been proposed as a way to promote its use. In clinical trials, advance provision did not adversely modify sexual or regular contraceptive behavior, but it did not reduce pregnancy or abortion rate either. Therefore, emergency contraception with levonorgestrel should be regarded as a backup method which is not a substitute for the continued use of more effective contraceptive methods.

Palabras clave : Ectopic pregnancy; Emergency contraception; Implantation; Levonorgestrel; Ovulation.

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