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FDA Advisory Committee Takes Step to Give Women Second Option to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy
Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) applauds the vote today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs that ulipristal acetate (UPA), a new form of emergency contraception (EC), is safe and effective. The full FDA approval of UPA, a medication that can be used safely and effectively up to five days after unprotected intercourse, would provide women with more options to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
This promising new emergency contraception, which, if approved, will be sold under the brand name “ella,” is already being used in Europe by women to prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected intercourse.
“Today’s vote by the FDA advisory committee that ella is safe and effective as a form of emergency contraception is a commonsense recommendation made by scientific experts,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “There are many reasons why a woman may face the risk of unintended pregnancy — from failure or improper use of birth control, to sexual assault — and every woman deserves every option available to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.”
“At Planned Parenthood, doctors, nurses and clinicians encourage women and men to consider their health and lifestyle factors when determining which contraceptive method is best for them and their partners. We know that birth control is most effective when women and men make informed decisions and get the contraceptive method that is most appropriate for them,” said PPFA Vice President for Medical Affairs, Dr. Vanessa Cullins. “We want all of our patients to have as many safe and effective options to chose from as possible when they are either trying to prevent pregnancy over the long term or in emergency situations.”
“Ella, or UPA, is safe and effective at preventing ovulation and therefore pregnancy in the five days after unprotected intercourse,” added Cullins. “Given the fact that half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, it is vital that women have an array of choices available to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Ella will become an important option for women.”
Per FDA protocol, clinical trials were conducted and ella was proven to be equally effective throughout the five days after unprotected intercourse, thus expanding women’s reproductive health care options.
The primary mechanism of UPA is to prevent or delay ovulation and therefore prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy, according to widely accepted medical definitions, occurs when sperm fertilizes an egg, which then implants into the woman’s uterus.