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HRA Pharma’s Missed Pills Study found that women were less likely to be at risk of pregnancy when restarting their regular birth control pills immediately, rather than waiting the currently recommended five days.

The findings are now published in the international medical journal Contraception, with hopes of changing the official guidelines going forward.

The results of healthcare company HRA Pharma’s Missed Pills Study challenges current guidelines on restarting combined oral contraceptives after taking the emergency contraception, ellaOne®. The study found that women benefited more from restarting their combined oral contraceptive pill immediately, rather than waiting five days as currently recommended in the national guidelines.

The Missed Pills Study is now published in the international reproductive health journal Contraception, with advice to policy makers to revisit the emergency contraception guidelines and update them according to the findings from this study. Camille Banh, Head of Medical Affairs Women's Health at HRA Pharma, is the first author of this scientific paper. This guideline change would align with ellaOne’s current product information (Summary of Product Characteristics). 

Never done before, the study specifically looked at women who took ellaOne® after missing three days in a row of their combined oral contraception pills (COC). In the study conducted in Germany, 54 women were randomised into two groups of 27. One group restarted the COC pills immediately after missing three consecutive pills and taking ellaOne®. The other group waited five days to restart the birth control after missing three consecutive pills and taking ellaOne®. The results showed that the women who waited five days, as currently recommended, after taking ellaOne® are at greater theoretical risk of getting pregnant compared to the group who restarted their birth control immediately after taking ellaOne®.

Professor Anna Glasier, Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh, UK, and Consultant for HRA Pharma, says, “This is an important study designed to answer a very specific clinical question regarding emergency contraception. The findings are very clear and will hopefully lead to a change in current recommendations.” 

Paul Carter, Chief Scientific Officer of HRA Pharma, says, “This study is key as it has important implications for women’s health. The current guidelines do a disservice to women as the current recommendation may put them at an increased risk of pregnancy. Our hope is that these results will prompt an urgent review and subsequent revision of the guidelines."

David Wright, Chief Executive Officer of HRA Pharma, says, “At HRA Pharma, we are pioneers in women’s healthcare having become number one in emergency hormonal contraception in Europe. As a company, it is important to conduct research like the Missed Pills Study to ensure that women can take full control of their bodies. We will now follow through on the results and urge that official guidelines are altered immediately.”


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Last Updated: 18-Nov-2020