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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » OTC Plan B (Page 1)

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Author Topic: OTC Plan B
Camzie13
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I recently read an article about how Plan B, the emergency contraceptive will soon be voted as to whether or not it will be available over the counter. I was wondering what everyone else thought of it either pro-or con. Personally, i believe that it was a fantastic idea, being 16, and having had the stress of the broken condom, but could go talk to my mom/adult. Fortuantely i was lucky (and had a helpful older sister) but i feel as though other people in my position might not be as lucky and if it was used properly, OTC emergency contraceptives could greatly reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

~Camz


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Gumdrop Girl
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my opinions seldom tend to represent the opinions of the other staffers and volunteers, but i will say this.

in california, pharmacies can dipense emergency contraception without a doctor's prescription. and there is additional legislation that is supposed to cap the price of said medication at $10 (it is usually around $35/dose).

I do not support this legislation because EC really is the sort of drug that requires some sort of physicial consultation because of the nature of the side effects. if women are not aware of their medical histories or other factors for contraindication, taking EC can be outright dangerous. It is the job of the physician to advise them of such matters, and as such, it should require some MD or DO's discretion to dispense prescriptions for EC.

it is not like naproxen that has been weakened (compared to Rx-strength) for OTC use. EC is strong stuff and should not be abused.

imho, more needs to be done to inform people of how to properly get EC with a doctor's visit. and even more needs to be done to inform people of how to avoid the need to use EC altogether (while accidents happen to even the mose careful folks, way too many cases are just from sheer negligence).

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KittenGoddess
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I'm of two minds about this one.

On one hand, I think that making it more readily avaliable to women is a good thing. It takes some of the stress and hassel out of an already stressful situation.

But on the other hand, I agree with Gummy, I'm not convinced that it will be used responsibly and safely. I've seen some information suggesting that women are very capable of using it safely and responsibly on their own, and I think that's fine. What makes me nervous is the potential safety risks to the 13-24 demographic. Between the prevelance of Judeo-Christian sex-guilt/shame in America and the abstinance only education, I'm just not sure that the younger demographic can safely medicate themselves. Yes, there will be some responsible individuals who will read the directions and listen carefully...but there will be others who will pay no attention and possibly endanger themselves. Look at the number of young women who come here everyday who take hormonal birth control or have gotten an EC and have no idea how it works!

I definately think that taking some of the stress and hoop-jumping out of the situation is a good idea, but with the poor sex education in this country, I'm just not entirely convinced that it's a good idea right now. Someday in the future, perhaps, if the system can be redeemed. At this point, some sort of counseling and instruction is needed with EC from someone qualified (pharmacist at the very least). I just don't know that America's youth is ready to see Plan B on the shelf between the Tylonol and the Immodium.

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logic_grrl
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In the UK, emergency contraception is now available over-the-counter from pharmacies if you are over 16.

However, the pharmacists are trained to run through a set of basic questions to establish that EC is appropriate before selling it and rule out contraindications. And in ambiguous cases they may refuse to sell it OTC and refer the person to a doctor or clinic instead.

For under-16s, it can't be sold OTC but is available free from doctors and clinics as well as from some pharmacists who have received special training to allow them to prescribe it.

That seems to me to strike a pretty good balance.


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sublime_15
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Hmm I dont think its a very good idea either, but for a different reason. Yeah it would be great if it could save someone from having a baby they dont want yet. But then you get those people that are like oh we dont have to use a condom I can just go get that pill so the STDs will shoot up like crazy from the already high rate in teens.
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Camzie13
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Yes i completely agree with KittenGoddess and logicc_gurl in the idea that it will still need to regulated in some way, like the basic questionaire

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Touchstone
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i'd have to agree with sublime on this one; if it's over the counter, i think that many people will not use a condom 'cause they can just get this ( when i saw this thread, that was my first reaction- not concerning myself, but concerning what others are likely to think).

If people have to go to the doctor for these, not only would a doctor make sure that it is safe for the patient, but also talk to them about safer sex in the future.


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celery
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I think it would be a good idea since it would be more available to women in need, but I also agree with the others about how it's availability can be abused.

I also had a question, is this just in the states or would it be available in Canada too?


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by celery:
I also had a question, is this just in the states or would it be available in Canada too?

The United States Food and Drug Administration is reviewing this matter. Since they do not have any jurisdiction outside of the US, whatever decision it makes would only apply here.

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¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


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BruinDan
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So today, the federal drug panel that was asked to report to the FDA about "Plan B" voted to make it available for over-the-counter use. I was told by a co-worker that the vote was 23 for and 4 against, but there were 28 panelists chosen so either somebody abstained or my source had his facts wrong.

Either way, the panel was made of certified gynecologists, and having a clear majority of those professionals come out recommending Plan B for over-the-counter status just about seals the deal. The FDA typically rubber-stamps the findings of it's blue ribbon panels, so we can expect this Plan B to be available on drugstore shelves in the near future.

I'm sorry I do not have any articles to post up here, but if you pay attention to tomorrow's newspaper you should be able to find far more details about this.

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BruinDan, "Number Three," PHOM

¡Siendo padrote no es cil!


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DarkChild717
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How's this?
http://www.kirotv.com/health/2707576/detail.html

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lemming
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Thanks for posting that article, DarkChild.

And I personally feel that the benefits outweigh the risks: if it's kept behind a counter in the pharmacy and the pharmacist has to be consulted. I've often thought that the way it works in some other countries with chemists is the way to go, but I don't have any idea about the legalities of that situation.

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Cassiggity
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I kind of always liked that the only contraceptives you could buy at the drug store also prevented STDs. I have a distinct feeling if people could just go get Plan B or BCPs or other things that only protected against pregnancy, they would totally stop trying to prevent STDs, because let's face it, "it won't happen to them."

I think having to consult with a health care professional would be a better idea, although that may deter younger kids who are embarrassed...

They should just put a warning on it, "14,000 people are infected with HIV every day. Pregnancy isn't the only thing you have to worry about."


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Milke
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Condoms and hormonal birth control methods aren't the only kinds of contraception out there. Drug stores sell spermicides, and up until a few years ago, sold foam sponges embedded with similar chemicals, which if I recall right, were meant to be used as a sole method of contraception. The thing is, anyone choosing to be sexually active has choices to make about the risks they're willing to take. For some of us, just using spermicide is enough, because we'd be okay if we accidentally got pregnant, for others, the pill AND a condom are a must, since we really don't want to get pregnant, or contract an STD (and of course, erring on the side of good sense and caution, the latter is what Scarleteen recommends). Most non-condom contraceptives I've seen have stated that they protect only against pregnancy, and not sexually transmitted infections, so no need to change that, but I think it'd be a really, really good idea for a pharmacist to provide thorough information when dispensing EC, and for pamphlets on birth control methods to be easily available in drugstores.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

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celery
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For all you canadians out there
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1069951941648_49/?hub=Health

I found that article so hopefully Plan B will be available in Canada soon too!


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Kite
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Semi-seriously, about teens using EC instead of condoms...

Just one bout with the nausea and vomiting that Plan B can bring, and you'll see teens using condoms en masse!

That said, I think EC should be available like logic_grrl was mentioning it is in the UK: over the counter, but with some advice to go with it. It's a nice balance between availibity and safety.


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cupcake
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PLEASE over-the-counter!

When I was in the States, trying to get EC was a nightmere and a half.

It's all fine to say "go to a doctor" when you're in a big city, but in rural Pennsylvania, you're hard pressed to find a doctor open on a Sunday, and no Planned Parenthood either.

After a disastrous experience at teh onyl open clinic in town, I wound up havign to go to the hospital, where they charge you a fee for even walking in (!), they make you do blood tests to make sure you aren't already pregnant, THEN you get literature about it, then you're given the pill. And 300 american dollars later...

Getting EC hardly qualifies you for quick attention by triage standards. The 6+ hours you spend waiting in an Emerg. really make a difference when you have a 72 hour window.


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morganlh85
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I'd say that ideally clinics would just be open on the weekend when people usually need them most, but that's not going to happen, especially with GW and his abstinence-only agenda. If there were some way for a person to need a pre-Plan B interview from the pharmacist or something so they wouldn't abuse the drug, I'd advocate that. I can't think of anyreasonable way of doing that at this moment, but if there a way I think that's best.
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Milke
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Canadian sexual health clinics aren't usually open on weekends in my experience, either, just FYI. I don't think that's down to politics, but rather, cost and staffing issues.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

We can't rewind, we've gone too far


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cupcake
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I dunno about the rest of Canada (Ican hardly speak for it) but here, any walk in clinic will prescribe it. Not all are open, sure, but all the Appletree ones are, as well as a few independents.
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Milke
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True, though I'd consider walk-in clinics about on-par with 'urgent care' clinics in the US, and sexual health clinics and Planned Parenthood pretty similar too. Not exactly the same, but the closest equivalents I can find, since the whole medical system's different.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

We can't rewind, we've gone too far


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cupcake
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For the US of Aers:

Sexual health clinic- like PP.

Walk in clinics- you can see a doc about anything, without an appointment. Some have X rays right in the same building, and blood testing centres. Many are open on Sundays, and late hours on weekdays (some until 10 pm)
* I usually go for the sickies- like earaches, or sprains and stuff like that, and see my regular doc only for gyno checks and check ups, she has a 2 month waiting list for appts.

Hospitals are hospitals, but most people only go for MAJOR stuff, like broken limbs, car accidents, surgery.


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SenegalParrot
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I think that making the contraceptive available over the couter seems like a good idea. But the side effects are pretty serious. Maybe it should be available at pharmacies where you have to fill out a questionaire or something and they will give it to you without notifying the parents. That would be a good system. Planned Parenthood clinics are good but they are far and between. THe closest one to me 12 miles.
and theres that issue with parents you might not want them to find out.

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Ashy
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Here's one thing I haven't been able to find clarification on:
Does "over the counter" mean right on the drugstore shelves next to the condoms and lube, or does it mean that you don't need to get a prescription, but need to get a pharmacist's consent?

I've read articles about this issue, but none of them have explicity stated this.


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Gumdrop Girl
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in california, it means you have to have the pharmacist dispense it to you, but you do not need a prescription to receive it. so no, you can't just toss it in the basket with your pop tarts.

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if q then p (converse)
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LilBlueSmurf
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I've heard that you'd have to ask a pharmacist about it. I'm not too thrilled w/ THAT idea ... It'd be absolutley insane to have something like that right out in the open.

I had to get my iron pills from the pharmacist. You can't tell me they're gonna sell heavy duty amounts of hormones w/o someone having to talk to anyone, when i had to answer 101 questions about why i was taking IRON (i was becoming anemic, my doctor had told me to)!

I really really hope this doesn't go through. I think the potential for something to go wrong is way too high. Heck, i was on the pill for years ... It eventually caused me to become hypertensive (high blood pressure), but i have no idea when. It wasn't something my doctor discussed w/ me. If the doctor doesn't have time (or just doesn't), are you telling me a pharmacist (if you even have to go that far) will?

And there's just something wrong about having to talk about your personal and family medical history when there's 5 other people behind you waiting to get their prescriptions filled too.


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Ashy
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If anyone could link me to an article that explicitly states how EC will be sold (consulting with a pharmacist first is required, etc), that would be great. Every article I read just says "OTC" or "without a prescription", and a few articles are claiming that you won't have to talk to a pharmacist to get it.
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Gumdrop Girl
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Ashy, do you have access to either Medline or PubMed at your school? Check the biosci library, they're usually subscribed. With MedLine or PubMed, you can search and download research articles. I'd try these periodicals: Journal of Ob/Gyn, Contraception, or Journal of Sexual Behavior.

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Ashy
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Hmm, here's one of the few articles I found that said anything definite: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/11/24/health/main585403.shtml
quote:
FDA's scientific advisers will debate the request next month. If FDA ultimately does end the requirement for a doctor's prescription, the question becomes whether Plan B can sit on any drugstore shelf next to the cold remedies, or if the government prefers behind-the-counter access like in Washington and the other four states. A senior FDA official says all options are open.

I'll take your suggestion, Gummy, and try looking at those resources.


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Gumdrop Girl
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News brief: the US Food and Drug Administration has decided not to allow OTC emergency contraception on a federal level. This federal ruling does NOT interfere with state rulings.

Currently, the following states allow OTC EC (but check your local statues for applications of the law): Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii and New Mexico.

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nmcowgirl87
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I live in NM, where Plan B is available without a prescription at any pharmacy. My unqualified but local opinion is that this is definitely a good thing. In our neck of the woods, finding ANY doctor open on a weekend is absolutely impossible, and it's about the same on Wednesday afternoons because they all go golfing. As for going to the ER, there's no telling who you'd run into and the reason for your visit would be all over half the state by the next day. This is particularly true for someone like me who is very well acquainted with the entire fire department and EMS crew. However, we do have a Walgreen’s, and their pharmacy is open until 10 PM. We found out when a friend had a rather unpleasant experience with a broken condom (yep... It was a Trojan) that you do have to go through the whole "60 questions" song and dance with the pharmacist, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I guess my opinion is that in this particular rural area OTC Plan B is a great idea. I don't think you should be able to get it without talking to a pharmacist, though because of the potential risks.

XOXOX,
Tab

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fairywings
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my friend worked asa receptionist at an ecp clinic a little while ago. i don't really know whats going on here now, but i know that the women would get it free (i mean, its canada! healthcare is 'free'! although it seems mr. dalton mcguinty in ontario is trying to change thism, but thats another rant) it was all confidential and stuff, although she did see a few familiar faces.
i think the morning after pill should definitley be available as an option for women. condoms break, women get raped, people get drunk. i do think there should be some kind of question thing for sure. (the clinic my friend worked at did.)
i'm just wondering though, what do pro-life people say? as far as i know, the egg isnt fertilized/doesn't attach to the wall of the uterus. i don't really know anyone very pro-life closely so i was hoping someone here could answer.

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Milke
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Health care and medication are NOT the same thing, so most Canadian women will find they have to pay for EC unless it is funded by another program for them. Nor is healthcare 'free', it's just funded by tax money, and available to all. I've seen EC at Canadian clinics for anything from $2-35, and sometimes free.

I don't want to sound too nitpicky here, just want to keep information accurate for those who might use it when trying to get EC.

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Milke, with an L, Mrs BD to you, RATS, TMNTP, MF, CWCD, WAOTA

. . .Amber eyes lost deep in thought
Of why the dish ran away with the spoon.

[This message has been edited by Milke (edited 05-28-2004).]


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how_it_could_be
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you are all liberalists! I am disapointed in all of you! shame on you all, to think the babies that are being aborted, that could have been you!
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MarvellousPurple
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how_could_it_be, please don't start. Scarleteen is pro-choice, and you're not going to change that. Lecturing us about the "evils of abortion" is only going to get you kicked off of the boards, so either make your argument constructive (i.e., "I feel that abortion is wrong for me or my partner because x, y and z") or take it elsewhere. Thanks.
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