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A downside to St John's Wort :(

(47 Posts)
NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 14:20:27

I can't believe I am writing this, but I seem to have lost all sense of shame so here goes

DH and I had unprotected sex the other night. I know it was stupid and I feel like a complete idiot, but we so rarely make love that we got caught up in the heat of the moment and I didn't want it stop. Anyway, today I decided I should go to get the morning after pill as I cannot risk getting pregnant. (again I can't believe I'm admitting to that as so many people on here are desperate to conceive). But, and this is the crux of it, they would not give it to because I am taking St John's Wort. I know that it can effect how hormone pills etc work, but they said they were not allowed to prescribe it as it would not work for me She even showed me the paper where it said it.

So a word of warning for those of you on St John's Wort. Dont be as stupid as me. Make sure you use protection if you dont want to risk getting getting pregnant. I'm now going to spend the next 2 or 3 weeks worrying myself sick. Well I suppose it will make a change from worrying about everything else.

I cannot begin to say how this has affected me. what should have been a lovely thing has turned me into a dithering wreck again. And all becuase of my own stupidity i am such and idiot

Greensleeves Wed 15-Mar-06 15:04:10

Oh dear how awful for you. You are not an idiot at all, there was no way you could have known! Everyone "slips up" every now and again - you couldn't have known that St John's Wort would stop the morning after pill from working. It's great that you have posted and warned others, because I know lots of people take St John's Wort and won't know about this effect.

I sympathise with the worry about possibly being pregnant. Surely it isn't very likely after just one occasion though? I know it won't stop you worrying.

I'm sure anyone who is TTC would appreciate that people's circumstances are different and that a pregnancy at the wrong time can be a disaster. It isn't insensitive to want support for your situation, whatever other people might be going through.

Bibliophile Wed 15-Mar-06 15:10:19

You are NOT stupid. They ARE. It is totally wrong that you were refused help. Yes, St John's Wort may interfere with hormonal contraception in some cases, but that doesn't mean you cannot be prescribed emergency contraception. You may have needed a higher dose, or it may have been better to suggest you have a coil fitted to prevent pregnancy, but sending you away empty handed is wrong. The Family Planning Association website clearly states that it is still appropriate to offer emergency contraception to women taking St John's Wort. I don't know who refused you - a chemist? your GP? but I would seriously consider complaining about them.

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 15:11:11

Thanks Greensleeves. I did know that the pill (and morning after pill) were not as reliable while takiing St John's Wort - but was shocked she wouldnt give it it to me. NB I didn't 'plan' to get the morning after pil, IYKWIM. And it took me a day to pluck up the courage to decide what to do about it. No doubt I'll get some negative posts on here but I wanted to let off steam and also warn others who inadvertently find themselve in the same situation.

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 15:14:40

Bibliophile - it was an NHS walk-in centre. She showed me the officiall document that detailed under which circumstances Leverolle (sp?) could not be given.

She did say I could try to get a copper coil fitted at a FPC but in her view it would have to be done asap as it was already 36 hours after the stupid 'act'.

fastasleep Wed 15-Mar-06 15:20:04

Oh nooo! NASWM! Fingers crossed for you, what bloody timing!

Bibliophile Wed 15-Mar-06 15:20:20

That's ridiculous NASWM. Yes, the literature for Levonelle warns that St John's Wort may affect the efficacy of Levonelle, it does NOT say it may not be prescribed! IN fact, it SHOULD be prescribed at a higher dose. Like this:
For women who are using liver enzyme inducing drugs, such as St John's Wort, what dose of progestogen-only emergency contraception is advised?

Enquiry Reference: 13 Faculty of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care Clinical Effectiveness Unit A unit funded by the FFPRHC and supported by the University of Aberdeen and the Scottish Programme for Clinical Effectiveness in Reproductive Health (SPCERH) to provide guidance on evidence-based practice MEMBERS' ENQUIRY RESPONSE Enquiry Reference: 399 Sent: 27th November 2003 A: Question For women who are using liver enzyme inducing drugs, such as St John's Wort, what dose of progestogen-only emergency contraception is advised? B: Response For women using liver enzyme inducers, such as anti-epileptics, anti-retrovirals and St John's Wort CEU advice is to increase the dose of progestogen-only emergency contraception (POEC) by 50%. The CEU in its Guidance document on Emergency Contraception, recommend that for women using liver enzyme inducers they should be advised to take two tablets of levonorgestrel (1.5-milligram total dose) as soon as possible and within 72 hours of unprotected sex. This should be followed 12 hours later by a single 0.75-milligram dose. An emergency copper intrauterine device should also be offered, as this is not affected by liver enzyme inducing drugs. New data from the World Health \Organisation has shown that a single 1.5 milligram dose of levonorgestrel is equivalent to a divided dose and the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have approved a change in its product licence to this effect.

Bibliophile Wed 15-Mar-06 15:21:00

BTW,no shame in using emergency contraception! Why should there be?

bluejelly Wed 15-Mar-06 15:23:18

I had a coil fitted 3 days after-- didn't get pregnant and still have it in now 6 years later. Get down to the FP clinic ASAP

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 15:23:44

Thanks for seeking that out for me Bibliopile. I dont know what to do now. I'm running out of time. Cant get my head round this

bluejelly Wed 15-Mar-06 15:25:28

Oh you poor thing, don't panic, get down to the clinic!

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 15:39:52

You cant tell a depressed woman not to panic! well you can but it doesn't make any difference....

quanglewangle Wed 15-Mar-06 15:43:53

Print off bibliophiles responses, esoecially the Enquiry Reference and march on down there with it....

anorak Wed 15-Mar-06 15:49:06

I also had a coil fitted as emergency contraception and still have it almost 5 years later.

IIRC you have longer than 36 hours to do this. Please get on to NHS direct or your GP now and ask about it. Don't be embarrassed. Many of us have been there, there's no shame in having sex with your own husband and getting carried away!

gingernut Wed 15-Mar-06 15:49:27

You poor thing. Do something about it (coil or whatever). You will feel so much better afterwards, don't let the worry hang over you.

DumbledoresGirl Wed 15-Mar-06 15:58:08

NASWM I really hope you printed off Bibliophile's post and went back to the clinic. It seems like there is plenty left for you still to do to make things right. Also, I hope you noted bluejelly's comment about the coil. It might not be ideal, but then neither is having another baby.

As for anyone here posting negative comments, why on earth should they? You have as much right to not want another baby as anyone else has to want one. Your situation is your own and we all here to support you in it, not criticise.

I really really hope you are out now sorting this. You know where you can find me later on. Oh and {{{{{{{{{{{{{{}}}}}}}}}}}}}} too.

spacecadet Wed 15-Mar-06 16:11:07

you can still have a coil fitted.
they should still have given you the morning after pill, just advised thsat it was likely to be less effective, also you can buy the morning after pill over the counter and you can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 16:22:23

No I've been collecting DS1 from nursery.

I cant think straight. Dont know what I am doing. Kids are hungry and whinging. DH working late. Wish I could just drive to another chemist/pharmacy in another health area so they cont compare records. REALLY stressed

bluejelly Wed 15-Mar-06 16:29:18

Put the kids in the car, take them to Mcdonalds and then go straight to a clinic that does emergency fp.
Sure someone there will look after the kids for you while you get sorted. And you will feel so much better when you have!

I know it's hard not to panic but you do have the power to take control of this situation.

Good luck!

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 16:39:45

I'm really struggling Bluejelly.

bluejelly Wed 15-Mar-06 16:49:34

Oh you poor thing, don't beat yourself up ( I know, hard when you are depressed. My ex had depression and spent the whole time beating himself up!)
I have been in exactly the same situation-- too later to take the morning after pill, had to rush to get an IUD fitted...
But it all worked out ok for me, it can for you too.
Have you got a yellow pages or something to look up clinics in your area?
Could you drop the kids off with a neighbour or friend for an hour?
Have you thought about buying the morning after pill from a different chemist and taking it anyway??

Uwila Wed 15-Mar-06 16:51:47

Not a bad idea. Go to anothe chemist. Don't mention SJW, and get a morning after pill. Is it wise to take two of them if you are on SJW? (This is just a question as I have no idea)

bluejelly Wed 15-Mar-06 17:00:32

I think you can also get the morning after pill from casualty depts, though easier from a chemist!

NASWM Wed 15-Mar-06 17:05:40

I'd have to go out of the area as all my details are logged. It would be easier if I was under age fgs. There is one option left. The local FPC is open tonight between 6.30 - 8.30pm. It is appointments only and there is no one there until 6.30pm to see if they have any appointments left. Either way I will have to take the DSs with me. I am so scared now. Dont want the bloody coil - but dont want to be pregnant either. Can't believe I'm saying this. what a mess

bluejelly Wed 15-Mar-06 17:15:26

Go to the clinic, sure they will see you as an emergency.
Not sure how old your kids are but bring colouring books and sweets to entertain them whilst there-- don't want tantrums whilst you are having to deal with something like this!
If you have to get the coil you can get it taken out if you don't like it after a couple of months I think.
Personally I think coils are fab, very reliable and low maintenance.
Take a couple of nurofen half an hour before you go as it can hurt a little when they put it in.
it's not that bad though.

And when you get home you can pour yourself a big glass of wine and relax

Gotta dash now but will try and log on later

Good luck


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