Birth control pills and TEOTWAWKI

Today I was thinking about birth control pills. Now, is this really a concern in times of crisis?  Don’t people have more on their minds than sex?

1926 US advertisement. "Birth Control"

1926 US advertisement. "Birth Control" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend Eve, a crisis responder, tells me people at disaster sites are always requesting not only food, but condoms.  People seek comfort wherever they can get it.

As for birth control pills, how many months would you like to stockpile? If you really think the world’s in trouble, several years’ worth is a challenging goal.  However, most people don’t have and can’t get more than a few months of birth control pills at one time.  Some doctors will prescribe 12 packs in advance, however insurance will not usually cover more than 3 at a time.  You could buy more on your own, if your doctor will allow it.

But what if he or she won’t? Is there any legal way to get them, perhaps over-the-counter?

Officially, no, not in America.  However, the new Plan B (of which I’m not a fan) contains 1.5 mg of the progestin levonorgestrel, which is 50 times the 30-mcg daily dose of a progestin-only “mini” birth control pill available outside the U.S.  Seven or eight of these pills could amount to a years’ worth of contraception.  Although no birth control pill is suitable for everyone, low-dose progestin-only mini-pills are generally effective if taken correctly.  They are commonly prescribed when combination pills containing estrogen are to be avoided, such as in patients at high risk of blood clots, or in nursing mothers.

Could you crush a single 1.5-mg tablet and divide it into 50 individual 30-mcg doses?  I believe the task would be difficult, but not impossible.  (I haven’t tried it myself yet.) The daily dose could then be taken for 3 weeks on, 1 week off, just as with other birth control pills.

I’m wondering, would you try this, if no other option were available?

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About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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2 Responses to Birth control pills and TEOTWAWKI

  1. C says:

    Fertility awareness works. All you need is paper, pencil and a basal thermometer to take your body temperature every day. Ladies can also observe the variations in their cervical mucus. Then practice abstinence as has been done for centuries.

  2. John R says:

    We all know that in the past when there has been a long term “black out”, 9 months later, the hospital delivery room is full. No TV, whats to do?

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