New EC guidance could change pharmacy provision

New Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care (FSRH) guidance on emergency contraception has the potential to cause the biggest upheaval in pharmacy provision since its introduction in 2001, according to HRA Pharma, manufacturer of ellaOne.

The updated guidance advises providers to consider ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) as the first-line oral treatment in most cases, regardless of the user’s weight or estimated time of ovulation. However, this means that pharmacists and their teams may need to review their practice, as figures suggest that current service provision is significantly at odds with the new guidance, the company says.

The guidance recommends calculating whether unprotected sexual intercourse is likely to have taken place less than five days prior to the estimated day of ovulation, although the FSRH acknowledges that this can be problematic. It also includes recommendations relating to the provision of EC for women with a higher weight or BMI.

RPS English Pharmacy Board member Deborah Evans comments: “This updated guidance requires pharmacists to review the service they provide to women. They must take action to ensure they are using the very latest evidence base to inform their practice and review the way EC is provided to women during their time of need.”

HRA Pharma will be updating its training materials to help pharmacy teams familiarise themselves with new guidance.

The updated Faculty guidance can be accessed here.

The FSRH is also running a webinar on March 22 on the new guidance. FSRH members can attend this webinar free of charge; there is a fee for non-members. More information can be found here.


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