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Levonorgestrel is used by women to prevent pregnancy after birth control failure (such as a broken condom) or unprotected sex. This medication is an emergency contraceptive and should not be used as a regular form of birth control. It is a progestin hormone that works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation) during your menstrual cycle. It also makes vaginal fluid thicker to help prevent sperm from reaching an egg (fertilization) and changes the lining of the uterus (womb) to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg.
Using this medication will not stop an existing pregnancy or protect you or your partner against sexually transmitted diseases (such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia).
This medication may not work well in women over a certain weight (for example, greater than 164 pounds or 74 kilograms), or if you have used certain other medications within the past month. This effect can result in pregnancy. Talk to your doctor for more details and to see if this medication is right for you (see also Drug Interactions section).
Check the ingredients on the label even if you have used the product before. The manufacturer may have changed the ingredients. Also, products with similar names may contain different ingredients meant for different purposes. Taking the wrong product could harm you.
If you are taking the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read all directions on the product package before taking this medication. If you have any questions, talk to your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed.
Take 1 tablet by mouth with or without food as soon as possible after unprotected sex. This medication works best when it is taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex.
If you vomit within 2 hours of taking this medication, contact your doctor to ask if you need to repeat the dose.
After you take this medication, the time when your period comes and how much you bleed may change. Tell your doctor right away if your period is more than 7 days late. You may need to take a pregnancy test.
If you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.
Nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, tiredness, dizziness, changes in vaginal bleeding, breast tenderness, or headache may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: severe lower stomach pain (especially 3 to 5 weeks after taking levonorgestrel).
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking levonorgestrel, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other progestins (such as norethindrone); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: unexplained vaginal bleeding.
This drug may make you dizzy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Limit alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
This medication must not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant or think you may be pregnant, tell your doctor right away.
This medication passes into breast milk but is unlikely to harm a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some drugs may cause emergency birth control to work less well by decreasing the amount of birth control hormones in your body. This effect can result in pregnancy. Examples include griseofulvin, modafinil, rifamycins (such as rifampin, rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as barbiturates, carbamazepine, felbamate, phenytoin, primidone, topiramate), HIV drugs (such as nelfinavir, nevirapine), among others. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more details (see also Uses section).
Overdose with this medication is very unlikely. However, if someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe nausea/vomiting.
Keep all regular medical and laboratory appointments.