Use of morning after pill concerns pharmacists

Updated: Jan 02, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

London: Pharmacists fear that many women are risking their health by using the morning after pill as a poll in Britain found that one-fifth of women used the emergency contraceptive last year after unprotected sex.

The poll by The Co-Operative Pharmacy of 3,000 people in Britain found that 20 percent of women aged 18 to 35 took the emergency pill last year. The same proportion said that heavy drinking or taking drugs led to them not using contraception with a new partner.

One in 50 had used the morning after pill three times or more in 2010, the Telegraph reports.

Among 18 to 21-year-olds, one in 50 said they preferred using it as "a regular form of contraception".

But Mandeep Mudhar, who heads the National Health Service development at The Co-operative Pharmacy, warned that women should not be using the morning after pill in such a manner.

"The morning after pill should be a last resort to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after having unprotected sex or if another method of contraception has failed, such as if you have forgotten to take one of your contraceptive pills," Mudhar said.

A sixth of women in the survey admitted to having had a sexually-transmitted infection.

Diseases such as chlamydia, genital herpes and gonorrhoea are on the rise, with almost 500,000 new infections diagnosed in Britain annually.

Mudhar added: "The emergency contraceptive pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections."