i-pill, emergency contraception pill from Cipla in India

16 October, 2007

i-pill, the emergency contraceptive protection pill from Cipla, has become a big hit. Now, other drug makers are also planning to latch on to the momentum created by the launch of emergency contraception pill i-pill. Cipla has set up helpline numbers to answer questions about emergency contraception to promote its product i-pill. The numbers are 1800-22-9898 and 022-3200 0055. The company has been receiving a large number of diverse queries about the i-pill, reports said. Many of the calls are reportedly from men.

The emergency contraception tablet i-pill, launched by Cipla, has been present in western countries for a long time. Cipla says that i-pill, which is available at chemists over the counter (OTC) should be had within 72 hours of unprotected sex for maximum efficiency. The earlier, the better. The effectiveness and reliability of i-pill declines as time wears on.

How does i-pill work? i-pill works in three different ways - one: it may prevent egg from being released from the ovary; two: it may prevent the sperm from fertilising the egg and three: it may prevent the fertilised egg from implanting to the wall of the uterus.

However, if the fertilised egg has already attached itself to the wall of the womb by the time i-pill is consumed, the medicine is of no use, says Cipla.

According to estimates, there are about 5 million unsafe abortions in India. About 78% pregnancies are unplanned. Cipla taps into the need for emergency contraception with its new medicine i-pill.

According to Cipla, the i-pill is ideal for use in cases of unprotected sex, forced sex, rape and improper use of birth control method. However, unlike standard contraceptive devices like condoms, the i-pill does not offer protection from venereal diseases like AIDS.

Cipla recommends that for maximum efficiency, the i-pill should be used as early as possible after unprotected sex with some water, after a meal. It should be taken within 72 hours of unsafe sex.

However, the i-pill is no use if pregnancy has already started. Also, i-pill should be consumed within 72 hours. Women who are allergic to levonorgestrel are not advised against using the product.

There is no need to take a medical prescription to buy i-pill, which is available across the counter at medical retail dealer shops and outlets. Emergency contraceptive pills were made OTC a couple of years back in India.

Unlike abortion pills which usually contain antiprogestins, the emergency contraception pill works in different way. While anti-progestins inhibit the growth of the fertilised egg, i-pill prevents the start of pregnancy. According to Cipla, i-pill is 95% effective within 24 hours of unprotected sex, 85% between 25 - 48 hours and 58% if taken between 49 - 72 hours.

Does i-pill have any side effects? Cipla says the side effects are largely negligible, unless you are allergic to the drug. Common side effects are nausea and vomitting. If vomitting happens soon after taking the pill, another i-pill should be consumed. i-pill may, sometimes, cause a minor change in the duration of periods, which changes back to normal soon.

However, there is no clear way to know if i-pill has served its purpose. The only way is to wait and watch till the next menstrual cycle. If it is inordinately delayed, consult a doctor.

In any case, do not rely on i-pill as a regular birth control pill. For regular contraception, use ordinary birth control pills. i-pill is only for emergency contraception, only as a backup.

i-pill is recommended for regular use, but only as an emergency measure. The drug maker itself says that regular use of birth control of pills is always more effective than emergency contraception with i-pill.





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