Does the morning-after pill have a weight limit?
We sat down with Stix Medical Advisor, Dr. Carolyn Ross, OBGYN, to discuss the relationship between weight and the efficacy of the morning-after pill available without a prescription. Here's what we learned:
Does weight impact whether the morning-after pill is safe to take?
Dr. Ross: The FDA states that there are no concerns that would prevent someone with a uterus from using levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives safely — regardless of how much they weigh. However, safety and efficacy are not the same thing.
Does anything change how well the morning-after pill works?
Timing (When you take it)
Dr. Ross: The most important factor affecting how well emergency contraception works (aka how effective it is) is how quickly it’s taken. When emergency contraception is taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure, it can significantly decrease your chances of pregnancy.
This means that the sooner you take it, the more effective it is at preventing pregnancy.
Dr. Ross: The FDA conducted an independent review of the available scientific data and studies related to the effectiveness of levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives and weight. In their review, the FDA determined that these data are conflicting and too limited to make a definitive conclusion on how weight can affect how effective levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives are.
Stix has also reviewed studies related to weight and the effectiveness of levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives, and we also found that there are some studies that suggest efficacy may decrease as body weight and BMI increase.
Currently, the morning-after pill with the active ingredient levonorgestrel (including our new emergency contraceptive, Restart™) is the only FDA-approved emergency contraceptive that’s available without a prescription. This means that the most accessible form of emergency contraception may not work effectively for everyone.
Why we're launching Restart™, our new morning-after pill
restartDuring this critical time, Stix is trying to make emergency contraception as accessible as possible. That's why we chose to offer the non-prescription morning-after pill so that you could make important health decisions on your own terms — and no one else's.
While everyone — at any weight — should be able to use the morning-after pill and trust that it will work effectively, we know that this is not the reality. As a team, we’re committed to advocating for accessible emergency contraception for all and will work to offer better options to our customers as they become available.
We urge the FDA to approve a higher dose of emergency contraception that is effective for all bodies, regardless of size.