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Pill 'may not work for heavy women'

IRELAND'S only over-the-counter morning-after pill is being reviewed by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) after a manufacturer said it would not work for women who weigh over 12-and-a-half stone.

Two pills are under review – Levonelle which is available on prescription and Norlevo which is the over-the-counter product accessible here.

Levonelle is also less effective for women weighing more than 11 stone 11 pounds.

The average Irish woman weighs 11 stone and the new findings mean women who have taken emergency contraception could still fall pregnant.


"The Irish Medicines Board together with its EU counterparts is also currently reviewing the available data on this issue," said the IMB in a statement.

Alison Begas, CEO of the Dublin Well Woman Centre, told the Herald there is an alternative drug women can take.

Ella One, a five-day emergency contraceptive pill which is only available on prescription, is 99pc effective and works as well on day five as it does on day one.

The two drugs under scrutiny are only 95pc effective on day one and after 24 hours the effect diminishes to 58pc. Also available is a five-day post-coital coil which must be fitted by a qualified doctor.

The alarming news, an-nounced by manufacturer HRA Pharma comes only two years after over-the-counter emergency contraception was made available here.

A number of pharmacies contacted were not aware of the recent medical development.