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The Emergency Contraception Website - Your website for the "Morning After"

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About...

Types of Emergency Contraception

Which birth control pills can be used for emergency contraception in the United States?

 

In the U.S., progestin-only EC is available on the shelf without age restrictions to women and men. Look for Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Next Choice One-Dose, My Way or other generics in the family planning aisle.


There are nearly two dozen brands of pills that can be used for emergency contraception in the United States today. Several products are specifically approved and marketed here as emergency contraceptive pills:

  • Progestin-only EC (like Plan B One-Step and its generic forms Take Action, Next Choice One Dose and My Way) are approved for unrestricted sale on store shelves. Anyone can buy it without needing to show ID. Plan B One-Step usually costs about $40-$50, and the generics cost about $35-$45.

  • If you want to use insurance to purchase EC, go to the pharmacy counter and ask for help.
  • You can order a generic form of Plan B One-Step at www.afterpill.com for $20 + $5 shipping. This site does not offer expedited shipping, so it's not meant for emergency use, but you can stock up and keep it on hand for future use.
  • ella is sold by prescription only, regardless of age. You can also order ella through an online
  • prescription service for $67, including shipping.

EC should be taken as soon as possible after sex.

 

You can also use a different dose of a number of brands of regular birth control pills. While these are not sold specifically as emergency contraceptive pills, they have been proven safe and effective for preventing pregnancy in the few days after sex. These daily birth control pills contain two hormones, progestin and estrogen, and are taken in two doses. You take the first dose as soon as possible (up to 120 hours after you have sex without using birth control, your birth control failed, or you were made to have sex against your will. You take the second dose 12 hours later (although being an hour or two early or late probably won’t make a difference in how effective the pills are).

 

Emergency contraceptive pills have no long-term or serious side effects, and it is safe for almost every woman to use them.


Here are some other things to know about taking emergency contraceptive pills:

  • Don't take more than one kind of EC. The active ingredients in ella Plan B One-Step (and its generic forms) may counteract each other and make your EC ineffective.

  • Don’t take extra pills. They probably won’t reduce your risk of pregnancy any more than the recommended dose for emergency contraception. But they will make it more likely you’ll feel sick to your stomach (one of the more common side effects).
  • If you feel sick to your stomach, it should be only mild nausea that goes away in a day or so.
  • If you throw up within an hour after taking the pills, call your health care provider. You may need to repeat a dose, and it might make sense to take some anti-nausea medication (Find out more about side effects here).
  • If you have any other symptoms you are worried about, contact your health care provider. Ask for an appointment right away if you have:
    • Severe pain in your leg (calf or thigh)
    • Several abdominal pain
    • Chest pain or cough or shortness of breath
    • Severe headaches, dizziness, weakness, or numbness
    • Blurred or loss of vision or trouble speaking
    • Jaundice (if you see a yellowish tint in the whites of your eyes, your skin, or your mucus membranes)
  • Your next period should start within the next month, although it might come a few days early or late (find out more here). If you don’t get your period by the time you expect it, you might consider getting a pregnancy test.
  • Start using a regular birth control method you think you’ll be able to use every time you have sex because that will be more effective than relying only on emergency contraception. And, if there’s any chance you could be at risk of sexually transmitted infections, use a condom.

The table below lists all of the brands of oral contraception available in the U.S. which you can use to prevent pregnancy in the few days after sex. For information about how to use a specific pill as an emergency contraceptive, click on the brand name in the table.


Looking for options for emergency contraceptive pills in another country? Click here.

 


Table 1. Oral contraceptives that can be used for emergency contraception in the United Statesa

Brand Company First Dose Second Dose
(12 hours later)
Ulipristal Acetate per Dose (mg) Ethinyl Estradiol
per Dose (µg)
Levonorgestrel
per Dose (mg)
Ulipristal acetate (Dedicated EC pills)
ella Afaxys 1 white pill None 30 - -
Progestin-only (Dedicated EC pills)

AfteraAfterab

Teva 1 white pill None - - 1.5
AfterPillc Syzygy 1 white pill None - - 1.5

AFterAthentia Next

Aurobindo 1 white pill None - - 1.5

AFterEContra Ezd

Afaxys 1 white pill None - - 1.5

AFterFallback Solo

Lupin 1 white pill None - - 1.5
My Way Gavis 1 white pill None - - 1.5
Next Choice One Dose Actavis 1 peach pill None - - 1.5

AFterOpcicon One-Step

Sun Pharma 1 white pill None - - 1.5
Plan B One-Step Teva 1 white pill None - - 1.5
Take Action Teva 1 white pill None - - 1.5
Combined progestin and estrogen pills (Regular oral contraceptive pills)
Afirmelle Aurobindo 5 white pills 5 white pills - 100 0.50
Altavera Sandoz 4 peach pills 4 peach pills - 120 0.60
Amethia Actavis 4 white pills 4 white pills - 120 0.60
Amethia Lo Actavis 5 white pills 5 white pills - 100 0.50
Amethyst Actavis 6 white pills 6 white pills - 120 0.54
Aubra Afaxys 5 white pills 5 white pills - 100 0.50
Ayuna Aurobindo 4 orange pills 4 orange pills - 100 0.50
Aviane Teva 5 orange pills 5 orange pills - 100 0.50
Camrese Teva 4 light blue-green pills 4 light blue-green pills - 120 0.60
CamreseLo Teva 5 orange pills 5 orange pills - 100 0.50
Chateal Afaxys 4 white pills 4 white pills - 120 0.60
Crysellee Teva 4 white pills 4 white pills - 120 0.60
Elineste Novast 4 orange pills 4 orange pills - 120 0.60
Enpresse Teva 4 orange pills 4 orange pills - 120 0.50
Falmina Novast 5 orange pills 5 orange pills - 100 0.50
Introvale Sandoz 4 peach pills 4 peach pills - 120 0.60
Jolessa Teva 4 pink pills 4 pink pills - 120 0.60
Kurvelo Lupin 4 peach pills 4 peach pills - 120 0.60
Lessina Teva 5 pink pills 5 pink pills - 100 0.50
Levonest Novast 4 light brown pills 4 light brown pills - 120 0.50
Levora Actavis 4 white pills 4 white pills - 120 0.60
LoSeasonique Teva 5 orange pills 5 orange pills - 100 0.50
Low-Ogestrele Actavis 4 white pills 4 white pills - 120 0.60
Lutera Actavis 5 white pills 5 white pills - 100 0.50
Marlissa Glenmark 4 peach pills 4 peach pills - 120 0.60
Myzilra Novast 4 yellow pills 4 yellow pills - 120 0.50
Nordette Teva 4 light-orange pills 4 light-orange pills - 120 0.60
Orsythia Vintage 5 pink pills 5 pink pills - 100 0.50
Portia Teva 4 pink pills 4 pink pills - 120 0.60
Quasense Actavis 4 white pills 4 white pills - 120 0.60
Seasonale Teva 4 pink pills 4 pink pills - 120 0.60
Seasonique Teva 4 light-blue-green pills 4 light-blue-green pills - 120 0.60
Setlakin Novast 4 pink pills 4 pink pills - 120 0.60
Sronyx Actavis 5 white pills 5 while pills - 100 0.50
Triphasil Wyeth 4 yellow pills 4 yellow pills - 120 0.50
Trivora Actavis 4 pink pills 4 pink pills - 120 0.50
Vienva Sandoz 5 white pills 5 white pills - 100 0.50

 

Notes:
a ella and the levonorgestrel EC products listed in the top section are dedicated products specifically marketed for emergency contraception. The regular oral contraceptives listed above have been declared safe and effective for use as ECPs by the United States Food and Drug Administration. In the U.S., levonorgestrel EC, like Plan B One-Step and Take Action, is available on the shelf with no restrictions. ella is available by prescription only.


b Aftera is sold exclusively at CVS stores

 

c Afterpill is sold online at www.afterpill.com

 

d EContra EZ is sold at family planning clinics and online at www.kwikmed.com

 

e The progestin in Cryselle, Elinest, and Low-Ogestrel is norgestrel, which contains two isomers, only one of which (levonorgestrel) is bioactive; the amount of norgestrel in each tablet is twice the amount of levonorgestrel.

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