Plan B, also called “the morning-after pill,” is emergency contraception designed to be used in the 72-hour period after intercourse if the contraception of choice failed.

Plan B is most effective when taken as soon as possible post-intercourse. It is 95 percent effective if taken within 24 hours and is 89 percent effective when taken within 72 hours.

How does Plan B work?

Plan B is a one-dose pill that works to help prevent pregnancy. It contains levonorgestrel, a hormone which stops the release of an egg from the ovary. Levonorgestrel is also found in some birth control pills, but it is used in a higher dose for Plan B.

How should Plan B be used?

It’s important to note that Plan B should not replace your current form of contraception. It is not intended to work in place of using a condom, the birth control pill, an IUD, or other birth control methods. It is just to be used as emergency contraception, intended for use in situations where contraception was not used or if contraception failed. For example, emergency contraception is appropriate if you forgot to take your last birth control pill or if the condom breaks at any point during sex.

Emergency contraception will not help prevent against STDs. You will still need to use a condom even if you are using another form of birth control to protect yourself from an STD.

Is Plan B the “abortion pill?”

No, Plan B and the abortion pill (RU-486) are not the same. It will not be effective if a woman is already pregnant, and it also will not cause harm to a pregnancy.

Where can I get Plan B?

PGOMG can provide emergency contraception for patients, but it does not require a prescription. It is also now found over-the-counter (OTC) in most pharmacies. Contact PGOMG to ask if emergency contraception is needed today.

Does Plan B have side effects?

Yes, there are some side effects associated with emergency contraception, but each woman may have a different experience. Your next period may be different from your normal cycle. It may arrive early or late, and it may be heavier or lighter than usual. You may also experience some abdominal cramping, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, headache, breast tenderness, and dizziness.

If you vomit within two hours of taking Plan B, please call your PGOMG provider at (415) 923-3123 in order to determine if you need to take another dose. These symptoms may appear, but are generally mild and go away with rest, hydration, and limited physical activity. If your symptoms are severe, please call PGOMG immediately.