SINGAPORE – Up to 10 women seek help every day to avert unwanted pregnancies at the 24-hour Women’s Clinic at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH).

The numbers have been increasing over the years due to greater awareness of the availability of the ‘morning after’ pill, said Dr Khoo Chong Kiat, consultant at KKH’s department of obstetrics and gynaecology. The Internet has also allowed for easier searches for places or doctors to obtain the pills, he said.

New ‘morning after’ pill Ella prevents more pregnancies

The typical patients are the young and educated, who may have given in to their passion and subsequently regretted it.

‘They are also the same women who will look for solutions on the Internet and discover the availability of the pills,’ he said.

These women now have a wider choice of emergency contraceptives with the Health Sciences Authority’s approval late last year of a new pill called ulipristal acetate, sold under the brand Ella.

Just a month ago, another emergency contraceptive pill called Plan B created some controversy in the United States. A government department made the rare move of overriding the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration to make that pill available over-the-counter to teenagers younger than 17-years-old.

Ella, which is approved for use in Europe and the US, is the first new oral emergency contraceptive to be introduced for use in Singapore in 10 years.

The prescription-only drug is available in more than 200 clinics and pharmacies in Singapore (listed on www.protectyourself.sg) and will be launched in Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia soon, said its licensee, Singapore company Hyphens Pharma.

It is effective in preventing 98 to 99 per cent of pregnancies if one pill is taken within five days after sex.

Read the full story about Ella, New emergency pill after sex; first published in The Straits Times newspaper’s insert Mind Your Body on Thursday, January 12, 2012.