Should Emergency Contraceptives Continue to be Available as Over the Counter Drugs?

Should Emergency Contraceptives Continue to be Available as Over the Counter Drugs?

Anupama Sukhlecha (M. P. Shah Medical College, India) and Dinesh M. Parmar (M. P. Shah Medical College, India)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/ijudh.2011100105
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Abstract

Women have been victims of sexual abuse and rape since time immemorial. Many times these have led to unintended pregnancies, forcing many of them to undergo illegal abortions. Most of these abortions were without any aseptic techniques that many times led to morbidity or even death of the victim. A rise in use of emergency contraception (EC) is good, as it will prevent a lot of unwanted births and unsafe abortions. On the other hand, the increasing use of ECs has led to increased sexual activity amongst youngsters. There has been a rise in sexually transmitted diseases following EC use because of multiple sexual partners and avoidance of barrier method of contraception. Hence, there is a need to encourage EC, but this calls for a need for safe sexual practice and awareness campaigns so that ECs are not misused.
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Introduction

Since time immemorial, women have become victims of sexual abuse and rape. Women also were often a victim of unintended pregnancies for which they needed to undergo abortion. Most of these abortions were without any aseptic techniques that many a times led to death of the victim. Low contraceptive use in India has contributed to high rates of unintended pregnancies, which have contributed to heavy reliance on induced abortion - an estimated 7 million abortions annually (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 2008). Abortion is legal in India, but safe procedures remain relatively inaccessible. In a study, unsafe abortion constitutes 11.6% of total abortion cases (Bhattacharya Mukherjee, Mistri, & Pati, 2010).

EC can play a critical role in reducing unintended pregnancy from all the above causes. Emergency contraception is defined as the use of any drug or device after unprotected intercourse to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. The concept of an emergency contraception has been known since long, and has been practiced from time immemorial. In ancient times, women used to douche themselves with potion, liquid and eat different types of food so as to abort a potential pregnancy. Present day women have modern ways of preventing pregnancy with birth pills, emergency pills, etc. Emergency contraceptive has also been labeled as a morning after pill or postcoital pill (Nair, 2008).

Through this article, we look into the various advantages and disadvantages of EC as an over the counter drug and, finally come up to a conclusion whether EC should be available over-the-counter or not.

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