Emergency Contraception Pills ("Morning After Pills")
There are four different types of emergency contraceptive pills ("morning after pills") available around the world. Check this page to see which pills are available where you live.
The first type of emergency contraceptive pill contains a hormone called progestin (learn more about these emergency contraceptive pills). Progestin-only pills can reduce your risk of getting pregnant by 88% (what does that mean?). You are also less likely to have side effects if you use these pills for emergency contraception, as compared with combined pills (see below). In the United States, different brands of pills are sold with different regulations, so it can be quite confusing.
Plan B One-Step is sold on the shelf (check the family planning aisle) with no restrictions. That means anyone can buy it without having to show ID. Plan B One-Step generally costs about $40-50.
- Soon, the generic one-pill products (Next Choice One Dose and My Way) will be available on the shelf next to Plan B One-Step, but you need to be 17 to buy them. Be prepared to show ID to buy these products. These generics generally cost about $35-45.
- The generic two-pill products Levonorgestrel Tablets are still available only at the pharmacy counter. Women and men aged 17 or older can buy them without a prescription. If you are 16 or younger, you need a prescription.
- ella is sold by prescription only, regardless of age. You can also order ella through an online prescription service for $42, including next-day shipping.
The second type of emergency contraceptive pill contains ulipristal acetate, and is available by prescription only in the United States (sold as ella) and Europe (sold as ellaOne). It has been found to be highly effective and well-tolerated. It can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, and is believed to be more effective than levonorgestrel ECPs.
The third type of emergency contraceptive pill uses both the hormones progestin and estrogen (learn more about these "combined" emergency contraceptive pills). Many brands of the combined daily birth control pill can be used for emergency contraception in the United States (find out which ones here). These pills cut your chances of getting pregnant by 75% (What does that mean?), and you are more likely to experience side effects like nausea and vomiting.
The fourth type of emergency contraceptive pill contains small doses of mifepristone. This pill is also highly effective, with few side-effects. This type of emergency contraceptive pill is currently available only in China, Vietnam, Armenia and Russia.
The Copper-T IUD is also a highly effective method of emergency contraception, and can be used as ongoing contraception for at least 10 years.
- Some people call emergency contraceptive pills "morning after pills," but you don't have to wait until the morning after. You can take the pills right away or use them up to five days after sex if you did not use birth control, you think your birth control failed, or you were made to have sex against your will. (Wondering if you really could get pregnant? Find out here.) Also, the sooner you take emergency contraceptive pills, the better they work.
- You can use pills labeled for emergency contraception or certain brands of daily birth control pills to prevent pregnancy after sex. (Find out which ones here).
For a more detailed academic review of the medical and social science literature about emergency contraception, click here .