Ulipristal acetate is a progesterone receptor modulator. As an emergency contraceptive, a 30-mg micronized formulation is effective for use up to 120 h from unprotected sexual intercourse. Ulipristal acetate acts as an antagonist of the progesterone receptor at the transcriptional level and a competitive antagonist of glucocorticoid receptor function. In contrast to other contraceptives, it has little effect on sex hormone-binding globulin. Although a single small study demonstrated some potential endometrial effects after ulipristal acetate administration, the clinical relevance of these findings is unclear. The incidence of adverse events in clinical trials for emergency contraception has typically been minimal, with one study showing a higher than expected incidence of nausea upon ulipristal acetate use. Ulipristal acetate, like other emergency contraceptive products, can lengthen the time to the next expected menstruation. Ulipristal acetate may have several advantages over currently approved emergency contraceptives. When compared to levonorgestrel, ulipristal acetate maintains its efficacy for a full 120 h, whereas levonorgestrel formulations have declining efficacy over that time frame. Moreover, although the copper intrauterine device (IUD) is highly effective as an emergency contraceptive, accessibility is an issue since the IUD requires a skilled provider for insertion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)