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Any mechanical device or chemical agent used to prevent conception.



one of various mechanical, biological, chemical, and surgical agents and methods used to prevent pregnancy and one of the most common forms of contraception.

Mechanical contraceptives principally prevent spermatozoa from penetrating into the uterus; they include female contraceptive devices that are inserted into the cervix and uterine cavity and male condoms. Chemical contraceptives act on spermatozoa that have entered the vagina by immobilizing them and depriving them of their fertilizing capacity. Some scientists regard synthetic preparations that have a general resorptive effect on the body to be chemical contraceptives. It is more accurate, however, to regard them as biological contraceptives. Agents of chemical contraception used locally include globules, suppositories, pastes, creams, tablets, and foams. They contain acids, quinine, and tannin and a contraceptive base. Combination contraceptives unite both chemical methods that are used locally and mechanical methods; they include chemical (melting) caps, sponges, tampons saturated with spermicides, and douches that spray the vagina with spermicides. Biological contraceptives act on various parts of the reproductive process, for example, on the movement of sex cells through the reproductive system, on fertilization, and on the implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus. Biological contraceptives include highly active synthetic hormonal preparations for oral administration and certain biologically active nonhormonal agents, such as antihyaluronidases and antihistamines. The effectiveness of biologically active nonhormonal agents has not yet been sufficiently proved.

Oral and intrauterine contraceptives are widespread. Oral contraceptives have various mechanisms of action. The majority of highly active synthetic hormonal preparations must be taken daily for 21 days starting on the fifth day of the menstrual cycle in order to be almost 100 percent effective. Oral contraceptives have been developed that are effective when taken after presumed fertilization. In many women these contraceptives may produce bloody discharge, vomiting, and nausea. These reactions, however, are usually temporary and do not necessitate discontinuing the preparations. Oral contraceptives must be used only under a physician’s supervision. It is not recommended that they be used for more than six months consecutively because of possible complications.

Intrauterine contraceptives come in various sizes and shapes, for instance, rings, loops, and spirals. They are made of various materials, such as stainless steel and polymers. Insertion is into the uterine cavity, where the contraceptive is left as long as one year. The mechanism of intrauterine contraceptives is not sufficiently clear. Menstrual cycle irregularities, pain, and inflammatory diseases sometimes occur with their use.

Prolonged use of any contraceptive is detrimental to health, and it is necessary to change the contraceptive periodically.


References in periodicals archive ?
Awareness and attitudes towards emergency contraceptive pills among young people in the entertainment places, Vientiane City, Lao PDR.
Reeti et al (8) studied 100 subjects, of which only one woman was aware of emergency contraceptive pills.
women who obtain abortions are often subjected were applied to IUD and emergency contraceptive users, the effect would border on the bizarre.
Findings from studies of emergency contraceptive pill users in Jamaica, Kenya and Ghana suggested repeat use of the method, (8-10) though none offered a definition of the phenomenon, and they assessed frequency of use over different time frames.
London, Jan 25 ( ANI ): New findings suggest that "morning after pill" emergency contraceptives may be less effective for overweight and obese women.
For more InsideCounsel coverage of the morning after pill, see below: Government will allow morning after pill to be sold to all ages 2nd Circuit orders unrestricted sale of some emergency contraceptives FDA appeals "morning after" pill ruling Judge strikes down restrictions on "morning after" pill Hobby Lobby must cover morning-after pill, judge rules
High schools around the nation have handed out condoms to students for years, but observers said this is the first known case of a school district dispensing the emergency contraceptive, also known as the "abortion pill" because of its ability to cause abortion in women who take it after sex.
For this young woman who has used condoms as her contraception, placement of a copper IUD would be both an effective emergency contraceptive and provide up to 10 years of contraception.
The Product: Available over the counter, emergency contraceptive pills such as the i- pill or UNWANTED- 72 are useful after an episode of unprotected sex.
Ulipristal acetate, an emergency contraceptive that is effective for up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse, has been approved by the FDA.
The FDA announced the approval last month, less than 2 months after the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee unanimously agreed that the selective progesterone receptor modulator was an effective emergency contraceptive with an acceptable safety profile, when used within 5 days of unprotected intercourse or a known or suspected contraceptive failure, which are the approved indication.
In the past decade the Council has been instrumental in bringing emergency contraceptive pills into the mainstream in many countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, including Bangladesh, Mexico, and most recently in Kenya.

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