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Sales of Plan B pill not slowed by debate



The controversy surrounding the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the so-called "morning-after pill" for nonprescription distribution has not slowed the rate of use of the emergency contraceptive. The morning-after pill (levonorgestrel) is manufactured by Barr Pharmaceuticals and sold under the registered trade name Plan B.

Barr reported that projected sales for 2007 would total $80 million, twice the 2006 sales revenue.

The contraceptive is a megadose of synthetic hormones (progestin, the synthetic form of progesterone), and is to be administered within hours of sexual activity. According to information provided by Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, or PPCOK, the contraceptive works best if used within 12 to 24 hours of unprotected intercourse, to "change the lining of the uterus (womb) so that a fertilized egg won't attach and start a pregnancy."

It is this definition of pregnancy that troubles anti-abortion groups, which repeatedly refer to Plan B as an abortion pill. Since such groups believe life begins at conception, implantation is not the point at which a pregnancy starts.

Dr. Dana Stone, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Lakeside Women's Hospital in Oklahoma City and a board member for PPCOK, said she hasn't seen any studies that conclude Plan B stops implantation.

"Theoretically, progesterone thins the uterine wall, and theoretically it would prevent implantation, but the main way it works is to prevent ovulation," she said. "Progesterone will not do anything to an established pregnancy." "Greg Horton

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