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IS EC Safe To Take While On The Pill?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
Can you take the morning after pill while you're on the birth control pill, patch, etc. Just to be safe?
Signed: IS EC Safe To Take While On The Pill?

Dear IS EC Safe To Take While On The Pill?,

 

TeenHealthFX does not recommend using the “morning after” pill (emergency contraception) as a general, ongoing back-up method of birth control whether you are on the pill, using the patch, or using some other form of birth control. EC is not meant to be an ongoing form of birth control, but is to be used in emergency situations, hence the name.

If you think you may need EC, contact the doctor prescribing your pill or patch and ask him/her if it is necessary for you to take EC following a sexual encounter. If you had been taking your birth control pill inconsistently or forgot to put on your patch, he/she might recommend it. But if you have been using your birth control consistently and correctly, he/she would probably advise against it – it depends on the situation and so it would be best for you to check in with your doctor to find out if it’s really necessary given your specific situation.

If you feel the need to have an ongoing back-up method of birth control because you think your current method of birth control is not working for you (i.e., you are taking the pill, but notice that you have trouble remembering to take it each day), FX does not recommend you rely on EC as a back-up, but that you speak with your healthcare provider about an alternate method of birth control that would better suite your needs.

 

For more information on EC, read the information below, check out the information presented on EC by Medline Plus, or the questions on the FX website under the category Birth Control Methods: Emergency Contraception Pill.

What is the “morning after” pill?

Emergency contraception (EC), also known as the “morning after” pill, is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It can be started up to five days (120 hours) after intercourse, but is most effective when used within 72 hours of having unprotected sex.

What are some situations where EC might be used?

Times you may want to use EC:

·         The condom broke or accidentally came off during intercourse.

·         You forgot to take your birth control pills, insert your ring, or apply your patch.

·         Your diaphragm or cap slipped out of place and you had intercourse.

·         You had sex and weren’t using any birth control.

·         You were raped and forced to have unprotected vaginal sex.

Is EC safe to use?

Emergency contraception is generally safe to use. Even though it’s made of the same hormone as the birth control pill, EC does not have the same risks as taking the pill because EC is not something used on a continuous basis – the hormones from EC are not in your body as long as they are with people who take the pill every day. EC has been used for more than 30 years and there have been no reports of serious complications.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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