June 1998

New estimates of the effectiveness of the Yuzpe regimen of emergency contraception

Trussell J, Rodriguez G, Ellertson C. New estimates of the effectiveness of the Yuzpe regimen of emergency contraception. Contraception. June 1998; 57(6):363-369.

The purpose of this study was to provide new estimates of the effectiveness of the Yuzpe method of emergency contraception and to offer correctly computed estimates of the confidence intervals for estimated effectiveness rates. Through a literature search, seven studies that present the number of women treated and outcome of treatment by cycle day of unprotected intercourse relative to expected day of ovulation were identified. Probabilities of conception by cycle day of intercourse among women not using contraception and the associated variance-covariance matrix from five other datasets were estimated, and these external estimates were used to assess the effectiveness of the Yuzpe regimen. The 40 estimates of effectiveness, based on seven separate studies and the seven studies combined and five different sets of conception probabilities by cycle day, ranged from a low of 44.2% to a high of 88.7%. The preferred point estimate is that emergency contraceptive pills reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75.4%, with a 95% confidence interval extending from 65.6% to 82.4%. True effectiveness is likely to be at least 75% because treatment failures (observed pregnancies) include women who were already pregnant when treated and women who became pregnant after being treated.