The emergency contraception (EC) category recently expanded with the arrival of a new 1-pill formulation, called Plan B One-Step, and a generic version of the original 2-pill Plan B formulation called Next Choice. With more options for women come more questions, especially in the younger 17 to 25 age group, and pharmacists need to be prepared to answer them. Adding to the story is the dramatic increase of EC needs after the holiday season, especially in the days following New Year’s Eve. Valentine’s Day and spring break also see a rise in requests for EC products.
According to a statement released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the new Plan B One-Step “represents a positive step forward for women’s health…and will simplify this important pregnancy prevention treatment.”
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd, headquartered in Israel, launched Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel tablet, 1.5 mg) and is offering the only FDA-approved 1-pill option. It is highly effective in reducing the chance of pregnancy when taken as directed, within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. According to the manufacturer, this 1-pill EC product prevents 84% of expected pregnancies versus 79% in women taking the 2-pill products.
Plan B One-Step is available over-the-counter at pharmacies for consumers, age 17 or older, with government-issued proof-of-age identification. Women younger than 17 years old require a prescription to purchase Plan B One-Step.
With the launch of the single-dose EC formulation this summer, ACOG reiterated its long-held position that there is no valid scientific or medical reason to impose age restrictions on the availability of EC, and has urged the FDA to withdraw the age restriction and eliminate the OTC status for EC.
Pharmacists will need to be prepared to answer questions about the EC options now available to women during a time when the demand for information and products is on the rise. For more information on Plan B One-Step, visit www.tevapharma.com.
“As a leader in women’s health, we’re proud to offer women this new, innovative emergency contraception option that builds upon the trust that women have come to know with Plan B,” notes Amy Niemann, General Manager, Senior Vice President of Teva Women’s Health. The 2-pill Plan B is no longer on the market. “With Plan B One-Step, women can now act quickly and take it right away when the unexpected happens,” Niemann stated.
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