PLAN B/ EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION (LEVONOGESTREL) FACTSHEET
Is Plan B for me?
- Plan B is intended to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or a known or suspected contraceptive failure (condom broke, late for a shot, missed pills).
- Plan B is NOT the "abortion pill" RU-486, and does not work if you are already pregnant.
- Plan B does not offer protection against infection with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.
How does Plan B work?
- Plan B acts primarily by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may prevent the union of sperm and egg (fertilization). If fertilization does occur, Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).
What is Plan B?
- You may see Plan B referred to as "emergency contraception", or "EC".
- Plan B contains one of the hormones, levonorgesterel used in regular birth control pills.
- Some regular birth control pills can also work as emergency contraception. See http://ec.princeton.edu/worldwide/default.asp for more details.
How do I use Plan B?
- To be most effective, Plan B should be taken as soon as possible, but it can
be taken up to 5 days after an accident, unprotected sex or contraceptive
- Plan B can be taken in 1 dose - both pills can be taken at once, OR
- Plan B can be taken in 2 doses, the first as soon as possible; the second tablet, 12 hours later.
Who should NOT use Plan B?
- Women who are currently pregnant.
- Women who have undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding.
- Women who have known drug sensitivities (allergies) to progesterones.
How effective is Plan B?
- In a clinical trial, Plan B reduced the expected number of pregnancies by 89%.
- After intercourse (without contraception), the expected pregnancy rate is 8%. Correct use of Plan B reduces this rate to 1%.
- Plan B is not as effective as regular contraception. Other hormonal
methods, like the Pill, are a better way to prevent unintended pregnancy.
- This means that you could still get pregnant after taking Plan B, but it's much less likely to happen.
Is Plan B dangerous?
- Plan B will not terminate an existing pregnancy.
- Plan B will not damage a fetus that is already developing.
- The most common side effects are: nausea (23%), abdominal pain (stomach pain or cramps) (18%), fatigue or tiredness (17%), headache (17%), and menstrual changes, including heavier bleeding (13.8%) or lighter bleeding (12.5%).
- There should be no change to your fertility. You can still get pregnant
at a later date after using emergency contraceptives.
Where can I get Plan B?
- You can get EC directly from a pharmacist without a prescription in 9 states (WA, CA, NM, AK, HI, ME, NH, MA, VT).
- There may be a pharmacist's consultation fee charged in addition to the cost of the pills if you get it without a prescription.
- There are still some pharmacies that do not participate in these 9 states. Go to http://www.ec-help.org/PharmacyLocations.asp to find a participating pharmacy near you.
- You can get Plan B ahead of time so you have it "just in case." Ask your doctor or clinic at a regular visit or fill the prescription online at your convenience.
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