In mid-August, a brand spanking new 5-day contraceptive pill called ella was passed by the FDA. Proven to prevent pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected sex, Europeans have enjoyed the drug since May 2009, and us Americans will be able to purchase it later this year. The FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs was originally presented with ella in June and, much to everyone's surprise, the drug enjoyed a speedy approval by the FDA only a few months later. For anyone who remembers the long, laborious road Plan B endured, this was needless to say a huge victory for abortion rights activists. So what exactly is ella, and should we all stock up?
1.) Is it true ella works just as well on day one as it does on day five? Yes, it's true. Unlike Plan B—which loses its effectiveness with each passing hour—ella works just as well at the 120th hour as it does the first minute. Birth Control Pill Issues
2.) But how is that possible? Does it mirror the abortion pill? Not exactly. While research proves that the chemical used is related to RU-486 (the abortion pill), ella has been proven to have no effect on existing pregnancies. Like Plan B, the drug works by blocking the effects of progesterone, which inhibits and delays ovulation. There's also evidence the drug reduces the lining in the uterus, making it less likely to house a fertilized egg. Abortions Rise With The Recession
3.) Can you buy it without a prescription at the drugstore? No. Unlike Plan B, one must have a prescription for ella. Which is sort of a bummer, but at least you have five days to shuffle yourself into a doc's office. And ella (available at the end of 2010) will most likely retail for about the same as other over-the counter-products ($30-$60).
4.) What are the side effects? The standard stuff: mild to moderate headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, painful menstrual cramps, fatigue and dizziness. Plan B Now Available For 17-Year-Olds
Does the idea of a 5-day contraceptive appeal to you?