Morning-after pill may come across as a handy contraceptive. Although the emergency contraceptive pill promises to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it may not be effective in doing so in heavier women, researchers have found.

The latest packing of the Norlevo, the emergency contraceptive pill developed by an European manufacturer, will now carry a caution sign that states that the product doesn’t work as well in women weighing 165 pounds (75 kg) or more and it is “not effective” for those over 176 pounds (80 kg).

Previous studies have suggested that overweight women are at higher risk of contraceptive failure. Findings reported in the 2011 issue of journal Contraception highlighted that overweight women using levonorgestrel-based pills were four times more likely to experience contraceptive failure than normal weight women.

Same was the case with pills containing ulipristal acetate. Obese women using such contraceptives were almost three times more likely to get pregnant than normal weight.
The findings were based on an analysis of nearly 4,000 women who used emergency contraceptives after unprotected sex.

FDA investigating if labeling changes required in United States too
The officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are now speculating if similar label modifications are required for emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.

“The FDA is currently reviewing the available and related scientific information on this issue, including the publication upon which the Norlevo labeling change was based,” Erica Jefferson, FDA’s deputy director for media affairs said. “The agency will then determine what, if any, labeling changes to approved emergency contraceptives are warranted.”

Don’t leave it to chance!
Although cutting down on weight and paying heed to the warning labels is important, Anna Glasier, an expert in reproductive medicine at the University of Edinburgh feels that taking a pill after unprotected sex is a better option than to “just leave it to chance even if you are obese.”

“When faced with a choice … I don’t think the findings are strong enough for us to tell women that they should not use LNG-E,” Kelly Cleland, a public health expert at Princeton University agreed. “Because Plan-B One Step is now available over-the-counter and is by far the easiest EC method to get, this is the method that most women are familiar with.”

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