Approval of emergency contraception

Contraception pills

Emergency contraception can help prevent pregnancy in women who had sex without using birth control, whose birth control method failed, and who were sexually assaulted. Emergency contraceptives, which are much like birth control pills, prevent pregnancy by stopping release of the egg from the ovary and by blocking sperm's access to the egg.1 The copper IUD can also be used as a method of emergency contraception.2

The FDA first approved prescription emergency contraceptive pills in 1998.3 In 2006, the FDA approved the first over-the-counter (OTC) emergency contraception option for women 18 and older.4 In June 2013, the FDA approved the OTC product for use by women of all ages without a prescription.5

Between 2006 and 2010, 11% (or 5.8 million) of sexually active females ages 15 to 44 reported using emergency contraception at least once.6 This is a substantial increase from 2002, when 4% of girls and women used it at least once, and 1995, when less than 1% used it.7

Sources

  1. OPA, Emergency Contraception Fact Sheet
  2. OPA, Emergency Contraception Fact Sheet
  3. FDA, Plan B: Questions and Answers - August 24, 2006; updated December 14, 2006
  4. FDA, Plan B: Questions and Answers - August 24, 2006; updated December 14, 2006
  5. FDA, FDA approves Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive for use without a prescription for all women of child-bearing potential
  6. CDC, Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15–44: United States, 2006–2010
  7. CDC, Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15–44: United States, 2006–2010