Emergency contraception: Oral and intrauterine options

Kirsten I. Black, Safeera Y. Hussainy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)



Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy where contraception has not been used, or there has been contraceptive misuse or failure. Australian women have three options for emergency contraception: two types of oral pills (levonorgestrel [LNG]-containing pill and ulipristal acetate [UPA]) and the copper intrauterine device (IUD). Both pills are available from pharmacies without prescription, whereas the copper IUD requires insertion by a trained provider. 


The objective of this article is to describe the indications, efficacy and contraindications for use of the three emergency contraceptive methods available in Australia. 


Emergency contraception can potentially reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies. The oral methods have similar side effects, but UPA is more effective than LNG and can be used up to five days after intercourse. The copper IUD is the most effective method, and provides ongoing contraception for up to 10 years. Factors to consider when recommending one option over another include time since unprotected sex, body mass index and use of enzyme-inducing medicines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)722-726
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Family Physician
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

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