Morning-After Pill Not So Effective On Women Over 176 Pounds

pillSay wha?

A version of the morning-after pill apparently stops working once you cross the 176 pound threshold.

Yes! Really. You can check out the details of the study here.

As first reported by Mother Jones, the company that manufactures the European version of Plan B – called Norlevo – has added to its packaging the terrifying news that the pregnancy prevention medication is not always effective for women over 165 pounds and doesn’t work at all for women who weigh more than 176 pounds. The warning reads, “Studies suggest that Norlevo is less effective in women weighing [165 pounds] or more and not effective in women weighing [176 pounds] or more” and that Norlevo “is not recommended … if you weigh [165 pounds] or more”

As Jezebel notes:

HRA Pharma was originally prompted to look into the effectiveness of their emergency contraception by a 2011 study out of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland that found that “the risk of pregnancy was more than threefold greater for obese women compared with women with normal body mass index, whichever EC [Emergency Contraception] was taken.” They also found that the risk of pregnancy was particularly high if that emergency contraception was made of levonorgestrel, the hormone found in many of the major over-the-counter morning after pills sold in the United States, like Plan B One-Step. The study recommended that overweight women use IUDs.

If the regulation hits the states, the medication will be rendered useless for a whole bunch of American women as there’s no question that a lot of us weigh more than 165 pounds. According to the CDC, the average weight of a woman over 20 is 166.2 pounds.

“The FDA is currently reviewing the available and related scientific information on this issue, including the publication upon which the Norlevo labeling change was based,” FDA spokeswoman Erica Jefferson writes in an email to Mother Jones. “The agency will then determine what, if any, labeling changes to approved emergency contraceptives are warranted.”

Translation: be ye warned, American women with bodacious bods.

But hey, don’t wait for the official word from the FDA — I’d go ahead and consider it ineffective now, because many popular morning-after pills sold here (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, and My Way, as well as a number of generic two-pill emergency contraceptives) are chemically identical to Norlevo.

Who wants to play Russian roulette with their weight and pregnancy? What I’m saying is even if I weigh in at 155 pounds, I’m not liking my chances. I cheated all the way through math in school and even I know them odds ain’t great.

Quite the bummer, no? Thus far, the concern has been over making the emergency contraception available to women at all, but to hear that even if we can access the drug it might not work? Grim news, indeed.

Bottom line: in the wise words of Destiny’s Child, Norlevo can’t handle the jelly apparently, ’cause your body too bootylicious for it, babe.


Read more from Monica on Babble:

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