Morning-After Pill

Before taking the morning-after pill, you should understand what it is, how it works, and what it could mean to your health. Call us for an appointment and one of our counselors will be happy to discuss emergency contraception and the associated risks with you.

What is it?

The morning-after pill is a drug intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It contains a high dose of progesterone, which is found in many kinds of oral contraceptives. In 2009, Plan B was reformulated and renamed Plan B® One-Step. It is now taken as a single dose tablet. A two-dose generic form is also available.  It is NOT the same as the abortion pill RU-486.

How does it work?

Plan B® One-Step is believed to act as an emergency contraceptive principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization. In addition, it could inhibit implantation thus causing an early abortion. It is not effective once the process of implantation has begun.

Things to consider
  • Emergency contraception is not effective if a woman is already pregnant from a previous encounter.
  • Plan B does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • The most common side effects in the Plan B clinical trial were nausea, vomiting, cramping and abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.
  • The manufacturer warns that Plan B is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive.
  • Side effects of the morning-after pill can mask the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus–most often in the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy requires emergency care.

 

See Also: RU-486 – the Abortion Pill

 

Sources:

FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B® One-Step; Rev. July 2009.

Manufacturer’s Prescribing Information for Plan B(R) One (Levonorgestrel) tablets, 0.75 mg. Mfg. by Gedeon Richter, Ltd., Budapest, Hungary for Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Pomona, NY 10970. Revised Feb 2004. BR-038 / 21000382503