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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Wisconsin Makes Minnesota Offer on Tax Reciprocity
The neighboring states have been unable to reach a deal since a 40-year agreement expired in 2009. An agreement would simplify income taxes for the roughly 80,000 who live in one state and work in the other.
Minn. DNR Increases Target Wolf Harvest
The Minnesota DNR is increasing the target harvest for this fall's wolf hunt from 250 to 280. The DNR says the latest population survey estimates that there were 2,423 wolves living in Minnesota this past winter, which is 212 more animals than estimated the previous winter.
Update: Teen Killed in Douglas Co. Crash
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office says a Lake Nebagamon teenager was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Wednesday afternoon. 15-year-old Seth N. Stariha, a passenger in one of the vehicles, was pronounced dead at the scene.
U of M Reaches Milestone with Ash River Neutrino Detector
The University of Minnesota is celebrating a milestone in creating an experimental particle detector that it says could eventually yield important information about the beginning of the universe.
Missing Employee Found at Soudan Underground Mine State Park
Authorities have located 76-year-old Adrienne De Vries at the Soudan Underground Mine State Park. De Vries is an employee of the park, and lost her way when walking down a trail. The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department says she was transported to Ely Hospital to get checked as a precautionary.