Emergency Contraception (EC) can stop a pregnancy before it starts. It works up to five days, or 120 hours, after unprotected sex. The sooner it is used after unprotected sex, the more effective it is at preventing pregnancy.
There are two types of Emergency Contraception:
ella - Now available at PPIL!
ella is the newest form of EC in the U.S. It is a one-pill formula available by prescription only. ella blocks the hormones your body needs to conceive and is very effective at preventing pregnancy for 5 days after unprotected sex.
Plan B/Next Choice
Plan B/Next Choice are available over-the-counter without a prescription for women 17 or older. Plan B/Next Choice work up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but effectiveness decreases each day. Next Choice is a two-pill formula. The second pill is taken 12 hours after the first one. The newer version, called Plan B-One Step, is just one pill. Treatment started within 72 hours, or 3 days, of unprotected sex prevents 75% to 89% of unintended pregnancies.
EC does not harm or end pregnancy if you are already pregnant.
EC does not protect against STDs.
What are the side effects of Emergency Contraceptives?
Positive Side Effects
- Offers protection and peace of mind after a "whoops" moment.
- It's safe to use. All forms of EC are FDA approved.
- Some EC options don't have the same potential negative side effects as the pill, because you don't take it continuously.
- Even women who can't usually use hormonal methods for medical reasons can use EC once in a while.
Negative Side Effects
Possible side effects clear up quickly. They can include:
- Dizziness, nausea
- Breast tenderness
Where can I get it?
Plan B/Next Choice are available over the counter for women 17 and older - no appointment necessary! Women under 17 can purchase EC after a quick visit at PPIL. ella is available by prescription-only after a quick visit with a negative pregnancy test at PPIL.
Find the health center nearest you or call 800-230-PLAN for more information.