The levonorgestrel is a contraceptive drug that belongs to the group of progestogens or progestins. It is generally used as an emergency contraceptive . If the sexual intercourse has taken place in the pre – ovulatory phase of the woman, in which there is more possibility of fertilization, this drug prevents ovulation and fertile conditions.Levonorgestrel, by the nature of its effects, is authorized in young women from 16 years of age. It can be consumed within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex or when a contraceptive method used has failed.

What is levonorgestrel for?

Levonorgestrel is a synthetic progestin that works to prevent ovulation and prevent an unwanted pregnancy ; Like others in this group, it has actions similar to progesterone.

If consumed before ovulation , it acts the same as natural progesterone, as an anti-estrogen at the peripheral level and at the central level . In the peripheral it inhibits the glands of the endometrium (the tissue where the ovum implants) and the glands of the cervix. In the plant , inhibits pituitary hormone discharges the gland.

If consumed after ovulation , since it has an affinity with the endometrial glands, it enhances the effect of natural progesterone. It is because of this effect that other progestins have been used from ovulation onward to facilitate implantation of the embryo in the endometrium and prevent abortion in women with repeated miscarriages.

Recommended dose of levonorgestrel

Levonorgestrel is administered orally, in a dose of 1500 micrograms . It is preferable to consume it within the first 12 hours after sexual intercourse, with a limit of 72 hours. If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of the dose, another tablet should be taken immediately.

Levonorgestrel can be taken on any day of the menstrual cycle, unless there has been a delay in menstrual bleeding . A barrier method, such as a condom, spermicide, cervical cap, or diaphragm, should be used until the next menstrual period occurs.

Contraindications of levonorgestrel

Levonorgestrel is contraindicated in women with the following characteristics:

  • Patients hypersensitive to levonorgestrel or excipients
  • Patients with severe liver failure
  • Women under 16 years of age

Levonorgestrel can be administered while the patient is on a hormonal contraceptive. Do not stop taking levonorgestrel. The latter is for emergency only.

Levonorgestrel may be affected in its effectiveness by the administration of other medications in the patient, such as:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Primidona
  • Carbamazepine
  • Rifabutina
  • Rifampicin
  • Griseofulvina
  • Ritonavir

Side effects of levonorgestrel

This medication has possible side effects, including:

  • Bleeding not related to menstruation
  • Delayed menstruation greater than 7 days
  • Spotting and irregular bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Sickness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Increased tenderness in the breasts
  • Headache
  • Epigastric pain


Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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