Created: 01/24/2014 10:09 AM WDIO.com
LONDON (AP) - The European Medicines Agency says it has started a review of emergency contraceptives to see if they work less well in heavy women.
In November, French drug maker HRA Pharma announced its morning-after pill Norlevo was less effective in women weighing more than 75 kilograms (165 pounds) and that it didn't work in women more than 80 kilograms (176 pounds). HRA Pharma changed its labels to warn patients after consulting with European regulators.
In a statement on Friday, the EMA said it would evaluate new data suggesting that a high body weight could compromise the effectiveness of the morning-after pill.
"This is an efficacy issue," said Monika Benstetter, an agency spokeswoman. "We need to find out what the association is with (body mass index) and if there is a cut-off threshold for when the medicine becomes less effective."
HRA Pharma's Norlevo contains levonorgestrel, the same active ingredient in other medicines including ellaOne, Levonnelle and Levodonna.
Benstetter said the EMA needed to perform an assessment of all products in the same category as Norlevo to ensure labels across the European Union are consistent. She said there was no timeline on when the review would be completed.
In November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was also studying the issue.
The morning-after pill can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. It contains a higher dose of the hormone in regular birth control pills and works by preventing ovulation or fertilization of an egg. It has no effect if a woman is already pregnant.
Some doctors have previously advised that heavy women consider alternatives like a copper IUD, a birth control device that can be fitted on the uterus.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Environmentalists Say St. Louis River Toxins Need Attention
Environmentalists and the Fond du Lac band of Lake Superior Chippewa say the state isn't doing enough to protect the public from toxins in the St. Louis River. A public meeting will be held about the issue tonight in Duluth.
August Job Gains Drive Down Minn. Unemployment Rate
Minnesota has gained 4,200 jobs in August, driving down the state's unemployment rate to 4.3 percent.
Wis. Unemployment Rate Drops; Job Growth Lags Nation
New statistics show Wisconsin's private sector job growth is lagging the national average. Meanwhile, the state's unemployment rate fell in August.
Family of Duluth Stabbing Victim: 'She was Always Happy'
The family of a Duluth stabbing victim spoke out on Wednesday after the 71-year-old woman's tragic death allegedly by the hands of her own son. Mary's ex-son-in-law, Ted Beaudoin, said he's still in shock.
Duluth Police Identify 2 Suspects in Last Month's Central Hillside Shooting
The Duluth Police Department has identified two suspects they believe were involved with an August 19 shooting on the Central Hillside.