The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved the new drug ella for emergency contraception. The drug is designed to be used within five days after a contraceptive failure or unprotected intercourse and will require a prescription.
The drug, known generically as ulipristal acetate, is thought to inhibit or delay ovulation by interfering with the effects of the female hormone progesterone, which stimulates ovulation. It has been available in Europe for a year under the name ellaOne.
An FDA advisory panel in June recommended approval of the drug, despite reservations of some critics that ella, like RU-486, actually induces an abortion.
Women with a known or suspected pregnancy or who are breastfeeding should not use the drug. More information about ella, which is manufactured by Watson Pharma Inc. of Morristown, N.J., is available here.