Emergency contraception

Salakos N, Kotsikorou C, Paltoglou G., Iavazzo C, Bakalianou K.

Division of Family Planning, 2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, “Aretaieio” Maternity Hospital, University of Athens, Greece.

Correspondence: Salakos Nikolaos, 8 Pentelikou Str., N. Filothey

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Emergency contraception refers to contraceptive measures (use of a drug or device) that, if taken after unprotected sexual intercourse, may prevent pregnancy. The first form of this method are the emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), also known as the "morning-after pill". These drugs prevent ovulation, fertilization or post-fertilization implantation of a blastocyst.  The second form of the method includes intrauterine devices (IUDs), usually used as a primary contraception method. As its name implies, EC is intended for occasional use, when primary means of contraception fail. Emergency
contraceptives cannot be used as a method of abortion since they act before implantation.

Key words: emergency contraception; pill; hormones.