Emergency contraceptive pill packages will soon come with a warning for heavier women, Health Canada reports.
Health Canada states that it has asked pharmaceutical companies to add warnings about reduced efficacy for women weighting between 156 and 176 pounds. The pill is ineffective for women over 176 pounds.
Emergency contraceptive pills, commonly known as “the morning-after pill,” are used to prevent unwanted pregnancy and can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex or an accident, such as a condom breaking.
The pills prevent ovulation or fertilization through high doses of the hormone found in daily oral contraceptive pills. According to Health Canada, the pills will not abort pregnancy.
The packages do not contain the warnings yet, and the current packaging will remain on shelves during the transition.
The request comes two months after the federal drug regulator began testing the efficacy of the pills. The research was spurred by an announcement from a French drug manufacturer stating that its pill was ineffective on heavier women.
Norlevo, an emergency contraceptive pill manufactured by France’s Laboratoire HRA Pharma, is available in Canada. In January, the European Medicines Agency announced that it was in the process of reevaluating the French pill. Canada began its reevaluation at the same time.
Norlevo packaging is in the process of being relabelled to reflect the recent findings. Next Choice, Option 2, and Plan B are also available in Canada but have not yet changed their packaging.
Health Canada recommends that women weighing more than 165 pounds speak to a doctor about alternative emergency contraception options.
Photo source, CTV News