The Mystery of the Morning After Pill On TV: Dr. Lazorwitz Explains How Weight Can Affect Efficacy

Dr. Aaron Lazorwitz explains to Inverse what Hulu’s new show “Shrill” got right about the “morning after pill” and body weight, highlighting that not all emergency contraceptives are created equal. Logo for Inverse, which ran a story on how weight may affect morning after pill efficacy | CU OB-GYN & Family Planning | CO

Spoiler alert! Hulu’s new show “Shrill” prominently features the “morning after pill” or rather potential limits of this form of emergency contraception in the first episode. The main character, Annie, learns she is pregnant after over-the-counter emergency contraceptives fail.

Dr. Lazorwitz spoke with Inverse about why something like this might occur. He explains that research data suggests that the levonorgestrel (progestin-only) pills available over the counter, Plan B One-step for example, may not work as well for women over 150 pounds. “Studies have shown that overweight and obese women have higher rates of failure with the traditional morning-after pill,” he explains.

Lazorwitz says additional research is needed into the efficacy of emergency contraceptives and weight. Have no fear though, women over 150 pounds who need emergency contraceptives, because you have options. Lazorwitz recommends that such women skip levonorgestrel pills for emergency contraceptives containing ulipristal acetate, like ella, which can be ordered online and shipped to your house overnight. Lazorwitz also notes that copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) can also be used as emergency contraceptives and are 99 percent effective, regardless of weight.

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