Emergency Contraception 101
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What Is the Yuzpe Method?

If you had unprotected sex and are looking for emergency contraception, you might consider the Yuzpe regimen. This method involves taking a high dose of a standard combined oral contraceptive within 72 hours of unprotected sex. However, using a progestin-only pill has nearly replaced the Yuzpe method, as it is more effective and results in less nausea and vomiting.

Understanding the Yuzpe Method

The Yuzpe method (also known as the Yuzpe regimen) is a form of emergency contraception used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or after birth control failure, such as condom breakage. It is named for a doctor who developed the method in the 1970s. The Yuzpe method has been almost entirely replaced by progestin-only emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B One-Step™.
 

Specific Details on the Yuzpe Method

When using the Yuzpe method for emergency contraception, women can take a high dose of a standard combined oral contraceptive ("the pill"), which contains both an estrogen and a progestin. Depending on which pill is used, this may involve taking two to six pills for each dose, for a total of two doses taken 12 hours apart. It should be started within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex.
 
When originally developed, this method provided several appealing advantages. It was relatively inexpensive, reasonably effective, and easily obtained. However, after it was discovered that using progestin-only pills was more effective and caused less nausea and vomiting, the Yuzpe method was largely replaced by progestin-only emergency contraceptives. Nausea and vomiting are some of the major drawbacks of the Yuzpe method, as many women actually vomit up the pills, making them less effective.
 

Why Use It?

There are a few rare circumstances in which the Yuzpe regimen might be considered a good option. In general, such circumstances occur when access to a progestin-only emergency contraceptive is not available. This might happen in rural areas where it may be difficult to get to a pharmacy.
 
 
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