WHAT ARE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) contain a special regimen of the same hormones as regular oral contraceptives (OCs). They are reserved for an emergency that might produce a pregnancy?a broken condom or slipped diaphragm, non-use of contraception. A woman using ECPs takes two doses, twelve hours apart, of particular formulations of regular OCs, normally containing estrogen and a progestin. An alternate regimen of progestin-only pills?as effective as combined OCs but with a lower incidence of side effects?is also available in some countries. With either regimen, the first dose is taken as soon after unprotected sex as possible, but no later than 72 hours afterwards.