Women who engage in unprotected sexual intercourse are faced with the potential reality of an unplanned pregnancy – a pregnancy they might not wish to go through. Women may not be prepared for the eventuality of an unplanned pregnancy because of physical, psychological, emotional or financial obstacles. Others may simply not have the support they require to raise a child, particularly if they are not yet in a stable relationship.
Faced with this situation, women who suspect they may get pregnant after unprotected intercourse will face some difficult choices:
- Let faith take its course and delay taking any action/live in denial (‘I can’t be pregnant’) and risk getting pregnant
- Use the copper coil to abort the pregnancy
- If pregnant already, resort to an abortion clinic
- Prevent/delay ovulation if still in time to reduce the chances of fertilisation (morning after pill)
Timely intervention and the use of emergency contraceptive measures such as the morning after pill (MAP) is probably the best solution to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. This is because the MAP is the least invasive, safe and effective method of contraception available, once unprotected sexual intercourse has occurred or when routine contraceptive measures are suspected to have failed.
Until recently, the emergency contraceptive pill was not available in Malta. This proved challenging to healthcare providers, who while wishing to offer this treatment were unable to do so in the absence of licensed treatment options.
Approval of these products by the Medicines Authority late in 2016 meant that the morning after pill could finally make its way to the pharmacies in Malta & Gozo and a longstanding, unmet medical need was finally addressed.
Prospective users now have the opportunity to choose from an array of different brands of so called morning after pills; among which is Escapelle® produced by Gedeon Richter – a leading expert in Women’s Healthcare.
With more than 35 years of experience, ESCAPELLE® (or POSTINOR in some countries) has now been used by more than 400 million women in more than 100 countries worldwide, making Gedeon Richter the No. 1 emergency contraceptive pill manufacturer.
Escapelle®contains a safe, effective and time-tested hormone – levonorgestrel – whose reputation for safety remains ‘solid’ despite the introduction of ‘newer’ alternative progestins.
Moreover,when used according to the established guidelines, Escapelle® prevents ovulation eliminating the probability of pregnancy for 99% of users¹. Escapelle® has no effect on the endometrium² and does not inhibit embryo implantation³. If implantation has taken place, Escapelle® cannot terminate or harm the pregnancy².
As with the rest of the other brands presently available, Escapelle® may be requested by the patient without the need to present a physician’s prescription. Removing the prescription requirement for the morning after pill will help ensure that the product plays a larger role nationally in the reduction of unintended pregnancy and abortion—important public health goals.
Although user access to these products has been purposely facilitated, it is important for prospective MAP users to realise that emergency contraception does not replace the more established methods of hormonal & non hormonal contraception. Emergency contraception is a last resort, short-term measure. Women requesting the morning after pill should also be counselled by their healthcare provider on alternative and more reliable methods of contraception as well as offered advice on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
- WHO meta-analysis, EMA Assessment report 24/07/2014
- Gemzell-Danielsson K, et al. Contraception 2013; 85: 300–8.
- Lalitkumar PGL, et al. Hum Reprod. 2007; 22: 3031–7.