Effective up to five days after sex
Mistakenly dubbed “day after pills” the drugs actually work when taken either immediately after unprotected sexual intercourse or up to five days (120 hours) after.
Plan B One-Step, Plan B, Next Choice and ella are the four brands of emergency pills increasingly being used in the U.S., Europe and throughout the world.
They are widely used in rape crisis centers and by women who think their regular birth control method failed, who didn’t use contraception during sex, or who were forced to have sex, may use these pills to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
There are three kinds of emergency pills:
- combined ECPs that contain both estrogen and progestin,
- progestin‐only ECPs,
- and ECPs containing an antiprogestin, either mifepristone or ulipristal acetate.
All three are available in the U.S.
Progestin‐only ECPs, which contain either levonorgestrel or norgestrel, are now more popular than combined ECPs because they are more effective and cause fewer side effects. Combined ECPs contain the hormones estrogen (usually ethinyl estradiol) and progestin.
But these pills are not as effective as condoms or regular birth control that’s used before or during sex.
More importantly, emergency contraception does not protect women against sexually transmitted infections and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes Acquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Only condoms offer protection against HIV/AIDS.
Women who are sexually active or are planning to be should not use emergency contraception as their only protection against pregnancy.
Emergency contraceptives work in one of three ways—by stopping or delaying the release of a woman’s egg (ovulation), preventing fertilization or stopping a fertilized egg from settling in the womb.
Pills or the Copper-T Intrauterine Device (IUD) are the two emergency birth control methods used today. Both do not cause abortion.
Plan B Side effects: mild and manageable. But while emergency pills have no serious side effects, some women may feel queasy or tired or may get headaches, breast tenderness or abdominal pain after using the emergency pill. Some women may even throw up.
Have you experienced any of the above Plan B Side Effects? More Plan B Side Effects after the jump.