What is Norlevo®?
Norlevo® is a so-called “morning after” birth control pill that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Norlevo® contains the hormone levonorgestrel (progesterone) – a substance that is also found in certain birth-control pills and mini-pills. The earlier the pill is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it is.
How is Norlevo® taken?
The treatment consists of one tablet containing 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel. The tablet must be taken as soon as possible but not more than 72 hours (three days) after having unprotected sex.
How does Norlevo® work?
Norlevo® is a morning-after birth control pill that can prevent pregnancy. Norlevo® has no effect if you are already pregnant. How it works is not completely understood, but it is assumed that the primary mechanism is inhibition or delay of ovulation.
When should a pregnancy test be performed?
To be on the safe side, a pregnancy test should be performed three to four weeks after taking Norlevo®. A pregnancy test should definitely be performed if menstruation starts on time but appears abnormal – or if menstruation is more than five days delayed.
When can I use Norlevo®?
- If you are afraid that coitus interruptus or the calendar method has failed.
- Condom failure, i.e., broke or slid off
- Birth-control pills were not taken
- When unprotected sex occurred for some other reason
- If the diaphragm slipped out of position or was taken out too early or if the IUD was dislodged
Norlevo® is only to be taken in emergencies. If Norlevo® is used more than once in the same menstrual cycle, there is a risk of disruption of the menstrual cycle. Norlevo® is not to be used as a regular birth control method. Contact your doctor or midwife for advice about birth control.
Does Norlevo® produce side effects?
Like all medications, Norlevo® can produce side effects. The following side effects have been observed:
nausea, abdominal pain, tiredness, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Cases of thromboembolic events (blood clots) and hyper-sensitivity reactions such as skin reactions have also been reported.
Does my weight affect the effect of Norlevo® emergency pill?
Some evidence suggest that the efficiency of NorLevo may be reduced in proportion to increased body weight or body mass index (BMI), but these data are limited and inconclusive. NorLevo is therefore still recommended for all women regardless of weight and BMI.
What happens if I’m already pregnant when I take Norlevo®?
Norlevo® cannot terminate pregnancy. If you’re already pregnant or if this method of birth control is not successful and a pregnancy develops, Norlevo® has no known harmful effects on the fetus.
Condoms – the best protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)!
Unlike a condom, Norlevo® provides no protection against STDs. Condoms provide protection against both STDs and pregnancy. Remember to use condoms when you’re with a new partner.
Norlevo® provides no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
11 questions and answers
1. How often can Norlevo® be taken?
Repeated use of Norlevo® within the same menstruation cycle is not recommended because of the risk for abnormal bleeding.
2. How does Norlevo® work together with other medications?
Concomittant use of the following medications with Norlevo® can prevent Norlevo® from yielding the desired effect: certain drugs used in the treatment of bacterial infections (rifabutin, rifampicin and greseofulvin), certain medications for HIV infections (ritonavir), certain epilepsy medications (phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidon, and carbamazepine), and naturopathic remedies containing St. John’s Wort (hypercium perforatum).
3. When shouldn’t I take Norlevo®?
Women with reduced liver function or have an intestinal disease that reduces the body’s ability to absorb medication (e.g., Crohn’s disease) or women who are allergic to something in Norlevo® should not take Norlevo®. Use of Norlevo® is also not recommended if there is a known risk factor for thrombosis (blood clots) in the family, or if you have had an infection of the Fallopian tubes or an ectopic pregnancy. Seek the advice of your midwife or doctor.
4. Can I take Norlevo® if I’m nursing my baby?
You can use Norlevo® even if you are nursing. Levonorgestrel passes into the breast milk, so nurse your baby before you take the tablet. Avoid nursing for the next 8 hours following ingestion and dispose the milk from the next breastfeeding.
5. What do I do if I vomit after taking Norlevo®?
If you vomit within three hours after taking Norlevo®, you should immediately take another tablet.
6. Does extra bleeding occur in connection with taking Norlevo®?
Normally, no extra bleeding occurs – but it can happen. Many women get their next period several days before or after the expected date. If you use Norlevo® several times during the same menstruation cycle, then there is a high risk that abnormal bleeding can occur.
7. How do I take my birth-control pills after a Norlevo® treatment?
If you’ve been using birth-control pills, then you must continue taking them as usual. If you temporarily stop using them, then their protective effect diminishes. That’s why we recommend using condoms as a complementary method up until the next period. If no menstrual period occurs during the next break in taking your birth control pills after using Norlevo®, a pregnancy test should be performed to rule out pregnancy.
8. How do I know if Norlevo® worked?
To be completely sure you’re not pregnant, you need a pregnancy test three to four weeks after you take Norlevo®. You should definitely have a pregnancy test if you get your period on time but the bleeding is abnormal or if your period is more than five days late.
9. How do I book a follow-up visit and get birth-control counseling?
Contact a midwife at the youth, maternity, or obstetrics/gynaecology clinic in your area.
10. Are pharmacy employees committed to professional secrecy?
Yes. They have an obligation to maintain secrecy.
11. How long after unprotected sex can you take the tablet?
Norlevo® can be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex. The sooner you take the tablet after unprotected sex, the more effective it will be.