Taking a morning-after pill with a painkiller is more effective than just taking the former alone, according to a new study.
About the study: The medical study, which was published in The Lancet on Wednesday, was conducted between 2018 and 2022 at the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong, where researchers used a randomized controlled trial of 860 women who requested emergency contraception to study the efficacy of the morning-after pill.
The results: The study found that women who were given a dose of piroxicam — an anti-inflammatory drug — alongside the emergency contraceptive pill levonorgestrel (Plan B) were significantly less likely to become pregnant than those who solely took Plan B.
Out of the 860 patients, 418 women were given levonorgestrel and piroxicam, while another 418 women were given levonorgestrel and a placebo. Of those who took both Plan B and piroxicam, only one woman became pregnant, leading to an overall effectiveness rate of 99.8%. As for the group that received placebo, researchers saw seven pregnancies — an effectiveness rate of 98.3%.
“The levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill is one of the most popular choices of emergency contraception in many parts of the world, so finding out that there is a widely available medication which increases levonorgestrel’s efficacy when they are taken together is really exciting,” Sue Lo, a co-author of the study who works at the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong, told The Guardian.
Caution: However, Lo noted that it is still too early for the findings to lead to any major changes.
“It’s a little bit too early to ask women to add (piroxicam) into their regimen at this point,” she said, according to Eyewitness News. “Anybody who needs emergency contraception should go to see a doctor… Whether she should add another prescription drug on top of (levonorgestrel), she should discuss with a doctor.”
Erica Cahill from the Stanford University School of Medicine also warned that the findings may not apply to all patients as the researchers only studied those of Asian ethnicity and those weighing less than 154 pounds. She noted that the effectiveness might not be generalizable to patients with higher BMIs.