Scientists developed birth controll pills which have serious and very attractive pros and cons. EllaOne, anti-pregnancy medicine, can be taken up to 48 hours later than the current tablet.
It is also potentially more effective, a new study shows, reducing the small risk of pregnancy in women who take the pills by around half.
But it has triggered controversy amid fears that the extra safety net it provides could encourage women to be less diligent about using condoms. Critics also claim that a new, improved morning after pill could also give women a “false sense of security” and encourage a more casual attitude to sex.
There are also worries that the drug, called EllaOne, could mean women, told they have five days to take the pill instead of three, are more likely to delay going to their doctor.
The drug, launched in Britain in October last year, is currently available only on prescription.
However, experts believe that it could be available over the counter from chemists, like the current morning after pill, levonorgestrel, within two to three years.
Also called ulipristal acetate (UA), the drug has been developed specifically to offer protection from pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected sex, the length of time in which sperm can live in a woman’s body.
New figures, published in the Lancet medical journal, show that it halved the risk of pregnancy compared with levonorgestrel, which must be taken within 72 hours.
If EllaOne was taken within 24 hours it cut the risk of pregnancy by almost two thirds compared with levonorgestrel.
At the moment the drug is licensed for sale across Europe with a prescription, which says that women must see a doctor before they can be given it.
However, as more women use it and data on its long-term side effects becomes available the drug could be sold over the counter through pharmacies.
Still, the drug’s packaging makes clear that it should be taken as early as possible after sex.
The Telegraph co. uk. has contributed to the report.