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A free online accredited CPD program for healthcare professionals

Emergency Contraception (EC): Is it time for an individualized approach?

1.00 Canadian Council On Continuing Education In Pharmacy (CCCEP) CEU(s) / 1.00 Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec (OPQ) CEU(s)

Program available online until: May 04, 2018

This continuing education lesson is designed primarily for pharmacists and has been accredited by the Canadian Council on Continuing Education in Pharmacy (CCCEP)
for 1.00 CEU(s).

This continuing education activity has been accredited by l'Ordre des Pharmaciens du Quebec, which will grant 1.00 CEU(s) to pharmacists who have completed it successfully.

Define the role of EC; identify guidelines and options


Emergency contraception (EC), also called post-coital contraception, allows women an opportunity to prevent pregnancy in the setting of unprotected intercourse or contraceptive method failure. Providing EC is one of many ways for Pharmacists to advocate for the well-being of women.

While most pharmacists are familiar with one or two methods, emerging evidence and comparative studies have shown that a “one-size fits all” approach to EC does not meet the needs of the individual patient.

Planning Committee

  • Dustin Costescu, MD, FRCSC.
  • Jessie Haggai, B.Sc.Pharm, CDE.
  • Rick Siemens, B.Sc. Pharm., B.Sc. Biol., CDE, CPT.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program, participants will be able to:

  1. Define the role of emergency contraception (EC) in pregnancy prevention
  2. Identify current Canadian guidelines and recommendations addressing emergency (post-coital) contraception, assess and determine if EC is indicated, and apply appropriate EC management, counseling and therapy strategies for women after unprotected intercourse
  3. Identify all EC options available in Canada, their indications, efficacy, safety, mechanism of action, and dosing schedules, and know which options to recommend (e.g. woman's weight/BMI)

Questions answered by our expert: Dr. Dustin Costescu, MD, FRCSC

  1. How would you counsel a woman who has come back repeated times for an EC?
  2. When considering factors affecting effectiveness of ECPs, how would you bring up the topic of weight in patients who are close to cutoff?
  3. Should the patient be given any additional medication such as Gravol (dimenhydrinate) to combat nausea resulting from UPA or LNG?
  4. In patients who engage in repeated UPI, in addition to unwanted pregnancy, how do you incorporate STIs, and a review of HPV vaccination status into a discussion?
  5. Since pharmacists will often be point of first contact, and many jurisdictions allow some form of prescribing in this area, how should they address the issue of follow-up, i.e. letter/note to family physician? Can or should the pharmacists do so if product is OTC?
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