There is an enormous shift in attitude among the youth towards sex. Although they are leading a modern lifestyle, they are often caught up in unfamiliar situations. This article aims to create more awareness regarding the popular 'morning-after' pill and how to use it correctly to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Accidents do happen. That is the reason we have emergency contraceptive pills such as I-pill available. However, these are not regular birth control pills. They are meant to be used only in emergency situations.
They are never to be used as the primary method of contraception. Also, this tablet is recommended for use by women aged 25 to 45. It is important to note that it is not intended to be used by teenagers whose reproductive organs are still maturing.
This tablet contains,
Levonorgestrel 0.15 mg - Active ingredient.
Ethinylestradiol 0.03 mg.
The active ingredient enters the bloodstream and blocks the formation of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. These hormones are responsible for the development and release of eggs from the ovaries. So, emergency contraceptive pills work depending on the reproductive cycle by delaying ovulation.
I-pill is the quick solution if you are worried about an unplanned pregnancy after:
An act of unprotected intercourse.
Failure of the condom.
Missing regular birth control pills.
Forced sex or sexual assault.
I-pill is to be used only before a pregnancy is established. It does not cause abortion in an already pregnant woman. Also, it does not affect pregnancy.
During menstruation, the mature eggs are released from the ovaries, and it is called ovulation. The ovaries produce progesterone, the female sex hormone, to avoid the release of more eggs and prepare the womb (uterus) for pregnancy.
During fertilization, the progesterone levels remain elevated, and the womb lining is retained. However, if there is no pregnancy, the progesterone levels decrease to cause menstruation.
Depending on where you are in your cycle, the I-pill works in two ways to prevent pregnancy.
It prevents the ovaries from releasing the egg.
If the egg has already been released, it prevents the egg from getting fertilized or implanted.
The Onset of Action:
These are not regular birth control pills and are meant to be used only in emergency situations. It should be taken orally within 24 to 72 hours of having unprotected sex because the sooner the pill is taken greater the effect. Therefore, it is most effective when taken immediately after the act for up to 24 hours and is advised to be taken within 72 hours (90 to 95 % effective). The effectiveness comes down to 85 % when taken from 25 to 48 hours after and to 58 % when taken between 49 to 72 hours after. If it is taken after 72 hours, it may not work at all.
It comes as a single tablet box which is to be taken with water after food to prevent vomiting. It should not be taken regularly and should be used for emergency purposes only. This is because I-pill contains high doses of hormones that can alter the hormonal response of the body when taken on a regular basis. If you vomit within three hours after taking the I-pill, it is recommended to take another I-pill as quickly as possible. In case of any doubts or side effects, consult a doctor. Follow-up with the doctor after three weeks of taking I-pill to rule out pregnancy, both uterine and in the tube.
I-pill is to be stored in a cool place at a temperature not exceeding 25 degrees celsius.
Secure the pill against moisture and protect it from light.
Do not freeze it.
Place it away from children's reach.
Always consult a doctor before taking this pill.
Before using the medication, have a look at the leaflet carefully.
People with a history of porphyria should take the medication with caution.
People with arterial disease and breast cancer should not take this drug.
People with lung problems should avoid taking this drug.
Short-term side effects include:
Unexpected spotting or vaginal bleeding.
It adversely affects the libido.
Lower abdomen pain.
Levonorgestrel induces allergies, and it is the active component of the pill.
Altered periods (late, early, or absent).
Rarely an allergy, causing skin rashes.
When a heavy dose of I-pill is taken, most of the side effects occur.
Essential Tips for I-Pill:
Do not use it routinely and use it for emergency purposes only as it has a high dose of hormones.
Do not confuse it for standard oral contraceptive pills or abortion pills, as I-pill is an emergency contraceptive pill and not recommended for abortion purposes.
Do not start taking the drug if you missed your periods; instead, take a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant.
Do not take this pill if you are allergic to Levonorgestrel, as it is the active ingredient.
If you vomit after taking the pill, take another pill as soon as you vomit to absorb the components of the drug.
Contraceptive pills do not safeguard against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and avoid these diseases by using condoms.
It should be by women between 25 and 45 years of age and is not approved for adolescents.
It is not 100% effective against preventing pregnancy and does not work if you are already pregnant.
I-pill does not cause adverse effects when taken with other medications. But sometimes, it modifies the metabolism and pharmacological activity of various other drugs such as:
So, it is better to consult a doctor before taking an I-pill with other medications.
If you had an unprotected exposure but are not sure of your risk of getting pregnant, it is still recommended to take an I-pill as there are no special side effects if taken when you were not exposed to sperms.
If you took an I-pill because you missed taking your regular oral contraceptive pills for three days in a row, you could start using your regular pills from the next day onwards.
Many women have intermenstrual spotting or bleeding, commonly known as 'withdrawal bleeding' five to seven days after taking I-pill. But, if you do not get your periods within three weeks, it is advised to take a pregnancy test.
While the I-pill is not proven to affect fertility and future pregnancies directly, they are hormonal pills that are meant to disrupt the natural cycle of the body. So, when it is taken more than twice in a span of six months, it can throw the menstrual cycle off balance and make ovulation unpredictable. Your periods can become irregular, and the flow can become heavier or lighter.
I-pill prevents pregnancy from happening in the first place. It is to be used only before a pregnancy is established. It does not cause abortion in an already pregnant woman. It has no effect on pregnancy.
If you miss your period even after taking an I-pill, it is possible that the pill did not work for you. In that case, consult your doctor for the next course of action.
I-pill has a good success rate when taken within the stipulated time. Still, like with any other type of contraception, there is a slight chance of failure with the I-pill too. So, it is still necessary to consult a doctor for a follow-up three weeks after taking I-pill to rule out pregnancy, both uterine and in the tube.
There are few substitutes for i-pill; they are,
Niel 72 Tablet.
Plan B One-Step.
Consult a doctor if you do not feel good about taking an I-pill and avoid self-medication.
The effectiveness of I-pill depends on the time it is taken after unprotected sex. If it is taken within the first 24 hours, it is more than 95 % effective, and if it is taken between 25 and 48 hours, it is effective up to 85 %. But the effectiveness reduces to 58 % or less if taken between 49 and 72 hours.
Vaginal bleeding and spotting are common after taking an emergency contraceptive pill, and it is called withdrawal bleeding. It normally occurs within a week of taking I-pill due to changes in hormonal levels. But if you experience severe bleeding with abdominal cramps, it is best to consult your gynecologist
The bleeding that occurs after taking I-pill is called withdrawal bleeding, and it is caused due to the hormone progesterone present in the pill. If you did bleed after taking an emergency contraceptive, then the chances of pregnancy are extremely slim. But if you did not get your regular periods 25 to 30 days after taking I-pill, it is best to take a pregnancy test and consult your gynecologist
I-pill or any other emergency contraceptive pill has to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The earlier you take it, the more effective it will be in preventing pregnancy. It should not be used as a permanent birth control method
One packet of I-pill contains a single 1.5 mg tablet. Only one tablet needs to be taken within 72 hours after the failure of other contraceptive methods or unprotected sexual intercourse
I-pill works in the following ways:
By preventing ovulation, that is, it stops the ovaries from releasing an egg.
By making the uterine wall unfavorable for a fertilized egg to implant.
Thickens the cervical mucus
Yes, it is safe to take I-pill even after 72 hours, but it might not be very effective in preventing pregnancy. I-pill is most effective if within 3 days (72 hours), but it can be taken up to 5 days
Yes, I-pill can delay your periods by a week or more. But, if you do not get periods even after 25 to 30 days of taking the pill, get a pregnancy test done.
Emergency contraceptive pills like I-pill are effective but less than oral contraceptive pills. The chances of you getting pregnant depend on when you take the pill. If you take the pill after the implantation of the fertilized egg has occurred, then it will not work
As the chances of getting pregnant are almost nil during periods, there is no use of taking an I-pill, even after unprotected sex. But, it is safe to take I-pill during periods
Usually, I-pill can delay periods by 7 to 10 days. Get a pregnancy test done, if you do not get periods even after 25 to 30 days of taking the pill.
If after a month of taking I-pill, you did not get periods, then take a pregnancy test.
Yes, one I-pill is sufficient to prevent pregnancy, if you take it within 72 hours or before implantation takes place
Last reviewed at:
29 May 2021 - 6 min read
Query: Hello doctor, My wife is 25 years old and she had her period on the 14th of last month. On the 1st of this month, while having intercourse, unfortunately, the condom broke. She had taken I-pill within two hours. Can you please advise if the tablet will work or not? Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, Me and my wife had sex on 12th January and she took ipill on 13th January. She had her periods on 21st January. We again had sex on 25th January and 10th February with protection (condoms). On the 10th evening some spotting started and it stopped on 17th February. The spotting was dark... Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor, I took two I-pills after sixth hour and 14th hour of sexual intercourse. Then, a week later I got vaginal bleeding for five days. Am I pregnant? When can I expect my next periods? Read Full »
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