Morning-After Pill May Not Work For Women Over 176 Pounds

Widespread implications if true

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A European company that makes an emergency contraceptive identical to the morning-after Plan B pill is set to warn consumers that the drug is completely ineffective for women over 176 pounds, and begins to lose effectiveness after 165 pounds, Mother Jones reports. 

The European drug, Norlevo, will be repackaged to reflect the weight limits, according to the report, which could carry significant implications for American women if true and if also applicable to morning-after pills in the U.S. Norlevo is chemically identical to many of the most popular emergency contraceptive brands used in the U.S., including Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One-Dose, and My Way. American manufacturer of emergency contraceptives didn’t comment to Mother Jones, and the FDA has yet to weigh in on the matter.

According to weight data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American woman weighs 166 pounds, and the average non-Hispanic black woman between 20 and 39 weighs about 186 lbs. If the European manufacturer is correct, morning-after pills could be ineffective for many American women.

Plan B One-Step is the only emergency contraceptive available over-the-counter to women of all ages. Norlevo packages will include a pamphlet summarizing the new discovery.

[Mother Jones]


If this is true then this pill will not work for the majority of all women.  Not to be a moralist, but if protection is used during sex then this pill will never be needed.  The company coming out and saying this problem instead of just printing on the box shows that they are taking responsibility for their products.  Erin Gainer the CEO of HRA Pharma said "When we became aware that there appeared to be an impact on efficacy (linked to weight), we felt it was our ethical duty as a drug manufacturer to report it and be transparent."  

According to Huffington Post the ideal weight for women in 2012 is 140 lbs and most women are at least 11 pounds heavier than that.  That weight is already getting close to the 165 lbs the company says the chances of the pill to start not working.  This also does not take into effect BMI and that muscle weighs more than fat and more women are starting to become more muscular as well as obese.  This article can be found at

Castillo, M. (2013, November 25). European morning-after pill norlevo deemed ineffective for women over 176 pounds. Retrieved from


Not to be a pragmatist but...I had sex and the condom broke... these things happen.