New findings suggest that “morning after pill” emergency contraceptives may be less effective for overweight and obese women.
Pills that are commonly used in the UK will be included in a review, the European Medicines Agency confirmed, but family planning experts said that women should not be put off seeking contraception and should speak to a professional if they had concerns.
It comes after the French drug company HRA Pharma changed the labelling of its product Norlevo, widely available in France, Ireland and other European countries, after studies showed the pill was less effective in women weighing 75kg or more, and ineffective in women weighting more than 80kg.
The active ingredient of Norlevo, levonorgestrel, is also contained in the most popular emergency contraceptive pill in the UK, Bayer’s Levonelle.
Professor Anna Glasier, a leading expert in reproductive medicine who led research inTO levonorgestrel at the University of Edinburgh, told The Independent it was “highly likely” that other medicines for which it was an active ingredient would be similarly affected.
The UK’s second most common emergency contraceptive, HRA’s EllaOne, which uses a different active ingredient, will also come under review.
Lynn Hearton, from the sexual health charity the Family Planning Association, said that, while the review was being carried out, any woman with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 who was concerned should speak to their GP or visit a contraception of sexual health clinic.