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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 birth control 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?

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 failure.

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?

  • Plan B prevents 7 out of 8 expected pregnancies.
  • If you take Plan B within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it reduces your risk of pregnancy up to 95%.
  • Plan B is not as effective as regular contraception. Other methods, like the IUD, shot, or 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.

What if I need EC more than once in a cycle?

  • Ideally, you should only take EC once in a cycle, then use condoms as a back-up until you have your next period.
  • If you need to take EC again in the same cycle, you should try to take the same one you took the first time.
  • If you can't take the same pill again, any EC is better than none - so take whatever you have available.

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 Plan B One-Step directly from a pharmacist without a prescription.
  • There may be a pharmacist's consultation fee charged in addition to the cost of the pills if you get it without a prescription.
  • To avoid this fee, you can print this prescription and take it with you to the pharmacy.
  • 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.
  • If you do not have insurance, you can get a coupon from GoodRx - this will reduce the cost of the medicine itself.
  • Here are some current prices for Plan B at some local pharmacies:
    • Costco: $56.00
    • Safeway: $47.83 + tax
    • Visitacion Valley: $40.89 + tax
    • Walgreens: $56.00 (name-brand), $43.00 (generic)
   
 
Last modified on Friday, April 07, 2017.
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