European Morning After Pill Is Not Effective For Plus Size Women
During the first half of 2014, Norlevo, an emergency contraceptive manufactured in Europe will include new labels warning women that the pill may be ineffective if they’re over 165 pounds.
HRA Pharma, a European company that manufactures Norlevo (similar to Plan B), updated their packaging after research showed that emergency contraceptive pills using the drug levonorgestrel are more likely to fail with women who have a higher body mass index.
According to the original report by Mother Jones, the drug begins to lose it’s effectiveness in women who weigh more than 165 pounds and it doesn’t work at all for women who weigh more than 176.
Due to these new developments, Norlevo’s packaging slip will read:
“Studies suggest that Norlevo is less effective in women weighing [165 pounds] or more and not effective in women weighing [176 pounds] or more” and that Norlevo “is not recommended…if you weigh [165 pounds] or more.”
There’s no word regarding an effective pill being formulated for women who weigh more than 165 pounds but this news doesn’t come to a surprise to Anna Glasier, an expert in reproductive medicine at the University of Edinburgh.
“There has been some evidence over the years that low doses of progestogen-only contraceptives have less efficacy in heavier women, but we do not know why,” Glasier told CNN. That said, “it is well recognized that body weight affects the way drugs are metabolized.”
Public health expert, Kelly Cleland offers an alternative for women who are worried about this issue. Anyone who is concerned about Norlevo’s ineffectiveness are encouraged to use an emergency contraceptive with ulipristal acetate, or a copper IUD.
As always, consult with your physician first so you are well informed.