"Nov. 20, 2012 -- Oral contraceptives should be made available without a prescription to reduce unintended pregnancies, according to a newly published opinion by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
- Patient Information:
Details with Side Effects
ella is not indicated for termination of an existing pregnancy. Pregnancy should be excluded before prescribing ella. If pregnancy cannot be excluded on the basis of history and/or physical examination, pregnancy testing should be performed. A follow-up physical or pelvic examination is recommended if there is any doubt concerning the general health or pregnancy status of any woman after taking ella.
A history of ectopic pregnancy is not a contraindication to use of this emergency contraceptive method. Healthcare providers, however, should consider the possibility of ectopic pregnancy in women who become pregnant or complain of lower abdominal pain after taking ella. A follow-up physical or pelvic examination is recommended if there is any doubt concerning the general health or pregnancy status of any woman after taking ella.
ella is for occasional use as an emergency contraceptive. It should not replace a regular method of contraception. Repeated use of ella within the same menstrual cycle is not recommended, as safety and efficacy of repeat use within the same cycle has not been evaluated.
Fertility Following Use
A rapid return of fertility is likely following treatment with ella for emergency contraception; therefore, routine contraception should be continued or initiated as soon as possible following use of ella to ensure ongoing prevention of pregnancy. While there are no data about use of ella with regular hormonal contraceptives, due to its high affinity binding to the progesterone receptor, use of ella may reduce the contraceptive action of regular hormonal contraceptive methods. Therefore, after use of ella, a reliable barrier method of contraception should be used with subsequent acts of intercourse that occur in that same menstrual cycle.
Effect on Menstrual Cycle
After ella intake, menses sometimes occur earlier or later than expected by a few days. In clinical trials, cycle length was increased by a mean of 2.5 days but returned to normal in the subsequent cycle. Seven percent of subjects reported menses occurring more than 7 days earlier than expected, and 19% reported a delay of more than 7 days. If there is a delay in the onset of expected menses beyond 1 week, rule out pregnancy.
Nine percent of women studied reported intermenstrual bleeding after use of ella.
Sexually Transmitted Infections/HIV
ella does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Patient Counseling Information
[See FDA- Approved Patient Labeling]
Information for Patients
- Instruct patients to take ella as soon as possible and not more than 120 hours after unprotected intercourse or a known or suspected contraceptive failure.
- Advise patients that they should not take ella if they know or suspect they are pregnant and that ella is not indicated for termination of an existing pregnancy.
- Advise patients to contact their healthcare provider immediately in case of vomiting within 3 hours of taking the tablet, to discuss whether to take another tablet.
- Advise patients to seek medical attention if they experience severe lower abdominal pain 3 to 5 weeks after taking ella, in order to be evaluated for an ectopic pregnancy.
- Advise patients to contact their healthcare provider and consider the possibility of pregnancy if their period is delayed after taking ella by more than 1 week beyond the date it was expected.
- Advise patients not to use ella as routine contraception, or to use it repeatedly in the same menstrual cycle.
- Advise patients that ella may reduce the contraceptive action of regular hormonal contraceptive methods and to use a reliable barrier method of contraception after using ella, for any subsequent acts of intercourse that occur in that same menstrual cycle.
- Inform patients that ella does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases/infections.
- Advise patients that they should not use ella if they are breastfeeding.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Carcinogenicity studies with ulipristal acetate have not been conducted.
Impairment of Fertility
Single oral doses of ulipristal acetate prevented ovulation in 50% of rats at 2 times the human exposure based on body surface area (mg/m²). Single doses of ulipristal acetate given on post-coital days 4 or 5 prevented pregnancy in 80-100% of rats and in 50% of rabbits when given on post-coital days 5 or 6 at drug exposures 4 and 12 times the human exposure based on body surface area. Lower doses administered for 4 days to rats and rabbits were also effective at preventing ovulation and pregnancy.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category X
[See CONTRAINDICATIONS.] Use of ella is contraindicated during an existing or suspected pregnancy. There are no adequate and well controlled studies in pregnant women.
Ulipristal acetate was administered repeatedly to pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis. Embryofetal loss was noted in all pregnant rats and in half of the pregnant rabbits following 12 and 13 days of dosing, at daily drug exposures ⅓ and ½ the human exposure, respectively, based on body surface area (mg/m²). There were no malformations of the surviving fetuses in these studies. Adverse effects were not observed in the offspring of pregnant rats administered ulipristal acetate during the period of organogenesis through lactation at drug exposures 1/24 the human exposure based on AUC. Administration of ulipristal acetate to pregnant monkeys for 4 days during the first trimester caused pregnancy termination in 2/5 animals at daily drug exposures 3 times the human exposure based on body surface area.
It is not known if ulipristal acetate is excreted in human milk. However, ulipristal acetate is detected in milk of lactating rats. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, risk to the breast-fed child cannot be excluded. Use of ella by breastfeeding women is not recommended.
Safety and efficacy of ella have been established in women of reproductive age. Safety and efficacy are expected to be the same for postpubertal adolescents less than 18 years and for users 18 years and older. Use of ella before menarche is not indicated.
This product is not intended for use in postmenopausal women.
While no formal studies have evaluated the effect of race, a cross-study comparison of two pharmacokinetic studies indicated that exposure in South Asians may exceed that in Caucasians and African Americans. However, no difference in efficacy and safety was observed for women of different races in clinical studies.
No studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of hepatic disease on the disposition of ella.
No studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of renal disease on the disposition of ella.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/18/2012
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Ella Information
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