Disclaimer: The information, articles, and tips portrayed on this blog, while based on research, do not constitute medical advice. The opinions expressed are meant to educate and inform, but not to dictate lifestyle choices or personal beliefs. These articles are meant to provoke thought on issues surrounding college health and to inform the Hopkins community of healthy information and resources.


Planning beyond Plan B


This week's sexual health headlines are all about "the morning after pill", also known as Plan B in the US.  The European version of this pill, Norlevo, recently noticed that the pill has been ineffective for women over 176 lbs.  These new revelations spurred the need for a new warning label which explains that the pill loses effectiveness for women who weigh more than 165 lbs and is therefore, not recommended for women in this weight range.  Not ideal news for many sexually active women who are 165 lbs or more.

At this point, the European manufacturer is the only one to discuss and provide a warning about this issue, while the American manufacturer have remained silent.  However, given the similarities between the pills, it is something to keep in mind if you or a partner may use this pill in the future.  We'll be keeping an eye on this as any news continues to develop.

While the news above may be startling, it is not the only option available.  It is also not the most reliable method of birth control for anyone- whatever the weight of the user.  Plan B/Norlevo should be used sparingly as there are many hormones packed into that little pill.  Taking that after every sexual act is not recommended, nor is it economical.  Instead, take a look at the options available and consider talking to someone about what methods might be best for you.  You can make an appointment at the Student Health and Wellness Center for this by calling 410-516-8270.  You can also try Planned Parenthood or your own physician. 

If you, a partner, or a friend are sexually active, remember that using barrier methods such as condoms and dental dams are the only way to prevent both STIs and pregnancy.  If you are also concerned about pregnancy prevention, consider a combination of a barrier method and hormonal method like the pill (the pill taken daily, not the morning after pill) or an IUD (which can last anywhere from 5-12 years depending on the IUD).  By doing this, there is a higher chance of prevention.  If plan B is needed, consider the potential effectiveness for you, including weight as well as timing.  We know the effectiveness of the pill is also affected by time, meaning the sooner Plan B is taken after the sexual act, the more likely it will work.  Also, Plan B should not be used any later than five days after the sexual activity.

Plan B is a good option for emergencies, but instead of relying on it, look into ways to be prepared with a plan a.  Talk to a reproductive health provider for more information about how to keep you safer when it comes to your sexual health.