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What adverse effects can the iPill have on the fetus?

Q: My 30 years old wife conceived inspite of taking one iPill within 24 hours of sex. She is 9 weeks pregnant now and the tests reveal that the baby is normal. I am very worried about the high dose of hormones to, which the baby has been exposed due to the iPill. We are worried if the iPill would in any way damage the fetus? We are considering medical termination. Please guide us.

A:It is not clear from your enquiry whether you wish to terminate pregnancy due to possible risks to the fetus due to ingestion of iPill or you do not wish to have a baby. iPill is the brand name of a medicine called levonorgestrel 1500 mcg. The same medicine is also sold under other brand names such as Ecee2 and Norlevlo. The efficacy of such so-called emergency pill is highest if taken within 12 hours and then goes on decreasing as time passes. If taken just before 72 hours, its efficacy is no more than 58%. Unfortunately, this vital information is not advertised by the manufacturers since it may lead to lower sales and lower profits. Low dose Levonorgestrel (300 mcg) is also used as oral contraceptive pill routinely to be taken daily. As per available information, many women who took levonorgestrel OC inadvertently (even when pregnant) suffered no toxicity and fetuses were also not harmed in any way. Such data is not available for higher dose levonorgestrel but the chances of injury to the fetus are minimal if the drug is taken before 8 weeks of gestation. If taken after 8 weeks, the female fetus may develop signs of virilisation (such as hair at unwanted places like face, deep male-type voice) though this itself will be in very few cases. Please keep in mind that levonorgestrel is a progesterone hormone which is not only naturally produced by the body but goes on increasing after pregnancy.


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