Morning after pill for sister, 25 yr old going on 15!! Help please
January 10, 2015 2:36 PM   Subscribe

My sister is in Ohio. She told me she needs to take the morning after pill. it has been eight days, so I think it will not be effective. 2 weeks ago we were at the hospital because she was having chest pains. it was an anxiety attack. she has only 2 or 3 heart valves (we already knew this) but the dr was worried that she took the morning after pill with her heart condition. .

I don't know what to do here. I know you can get morning after pills at some drug stores, not sure in what states, but I can't advise that if it could cause her more problems. I am suggesting she go to urgent care or the hospital. thoughts? I am writing bc planned parenthood will not be open until Monday.
posted by cheetahchick to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It won't effective at 8 days. It won't do anything at all for her at this point. The morning after pill is not effective at all after 3 days (in fact, it's most effective within 24 hours, and becomes less effective the longer you wait).

There is zero reason for her to take the morning after pill if she had sex 8 days ago. Get her an early response pregnancy test instead and then go from there.
posted by erst at 2:39 PM on January 10, 2015 [15 favorites]

Planned Parenthood lists three types of emergency contraceptives, none of which are effective after 5 days/120 hours.
posted by fox problems at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Your sister is an adult, even though she may not act like one, and you can't make her behave responsibly. It sucks, but you can't. You should tell her that it's too late for the morning after pill. Suggest that she make an appointment with Planned Parenthood on Monday for a pregnancy test and that she talk to them about contraception while she's there. She should let them know about her heart condition so they can help her find a method that will be safe and effective for her. And then realize that she's going to make her own choices. It's not your responsibility to live her life for her.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 2:47 PM on January 10, 2015 [17 favorites]

There's nothing anyone can do until about the time her period was due, at which point she'll probably ping a pregnancy test if she's pregnant. If she doesn't know when it's due, she can test from 2 weeks after the sex to 4 weeks and if those are all negative she's probably in the clear.

If she's pregnant she can find out more about her options from Planned Parenthood. There is no abortion she can have this weekend, or for another 2-5 weeks (depending on availability), so there's no point in panicking. What's done is done, for now. (There is an outside chance that PP might give her an IUD next week even if she might be pregnant, I think the best practices on that have changed and they don't do that anymore.)

It's called "morning after" - morning singlular - for a reason. I point this out because if she is this unclear on how babies are made and how contraception works, you might need to point that out to her. If she is obsessing about taking emergency contraception (which might be the case, since I guess she also took them two weeks ago before she was in the emergency room for a stress/anxiety issue?) it may be time to look at treating her overall issues.

And getting her an IUD.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:47 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

yep, that is what I thought! Thanks. Its hard "raising" your adult sister who insists on being a teenager. Ugghh :(
posted by cheetahchick at 2:48 PM on January 10, 2015

Are you implying the pill would be contraindicated for her, due to her heart problems? So it's not just pointless to take it, it might be dangerous for her? She definitely shouldn't take it, then.

Also, I'm not sure what you're hoping she will get from urgent care or the hospital. If she's pregnant, she can find that out herself without running up a gigantic hospital bill, or wasting time at urgent care. Unless she is actually sick, there's nothing to treat. And they won't give her the morning after pill this late, if they would have given it to her at all.
posted by Coatlicue at 2:48 PM on January 10, 2015

Yep, I tried to get her an IUD when I first found out 2 weeks ago :(
Ok, thanks folks.
posted by cheetahchick at 2:50 PM on January 10, 2015

If she's repeatedly engaging in risky sexual behavior, having anxiety symptoms, and generally behaving irresponsibly, it starts to sound a bit like she might be having a manic episode. She's not a teenager, she's 25. She's not just "acting like a teenager" at this point. Poor judgment in adolescence is excused to a point because of brain development. Poor judgment later might still just be poor judgment, but whether it's just the anxiety or something more, if you're trying to help her, help her get adequate mental health screenings and treatment.
posted by Sequence at 2:54 PM on January 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Suggest that she make an appointment with Planned Parenthood on Monday for a pregnancy test

I think she'll have to wait to do the pregnancy test until after a missed period and a minimum of two weeks after she last had sex (this is what Planned Parenthood told me when I had a pregnancy scare).
posted by three_red_balloons at 3:04 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I know you can get morning after pills at some drug stores, not sure in what states,

You are correct that it is not effective after eight days, but Plan B is legally OTC in all states. I am not sure why a doctor would be worried she took Plan B. It is true that some people with heart conditions should not take combination birth control, but generally even people who should not use hormonal contraception can use the emergency contraception since you don't take it long-term. Moreover, Plan B does not contain estrogen, which is the main risk for serious cardiovascular effects.
posted by Violet Hour at 3:26 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't know much about birth control, but it sounds to me like there might be some confusion about your sister's heart situation, and this might be another place for some sisterly guidance. Only having two or three valves would be a very serious, likely debilitating issue. Either your sister isn't clear on what is wrong with her (in which case she needs to have this clarified) or she needs close care from a congenital cardiologist to track her condition and help her figure out what kind of birth control would be safe for her to use. Either way, a medical consultation is in order. If she does have a complex congenital heart disease she needs to be seen by an expert. An appropriate doctor can be located at Forgive me if you already have this well in hand, but I felt I needed to mention the matter -- many young adults with congenital heart problems fall out of care when they grow out of pediatrics.
posted by reren at 5:41 PM on January 10, 2015 [8 favorites]

Just a note: she can wee on a stick as soon as 14 days after she had sex: I tested positive before my period was due. (Of course this is not always accurate, but may bring her some more info.)
posted by Specklet at 5:54 PM on January 10, 2015

Yes, I do think she is biopolar but unfortunately she is not willing to see it, so not sure what I can do :(
posted by cheetahchick at 6:30 PM on January 10, 2015

Heart valves are made of leaflets. The aortic valve typically has three leaflets, but often has just two. This "bicuspid aortic valve" can be found in 1-2% of the population. This isn't a particularly dangerous condition, particularly in a young woman. I bet she has all four heart valves, just one is a little different than normal.
posted by cameradv at 4:39 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]

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