Emergency Contraceptive Pill
(Plan B ®, Ovral ®)
What it is... How to use it...
How does this work?
- Contains high doses of estrogen or progestin.
- Can be used up to five days after unprotected intercourse but is most effective if taken within the first 24 hours.
- Plan B®: take one pill right away and the second 12 hours later or both at the same time.
- Ovral®: first 2 pills taken right away and the next 2 two hours later.
- For emergencies only does not provide ongoing protection against pregnancy.
- Plan B® effectiveness:
- First 24 hours — 95%
- 25–48 hours — 85%
- After 72 hours — 58% or less
- Ovral® effectiveness:
- First 24 hours — 77%
- 25–48 hours — 36%
- After 72 hours — 31%
- Can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or if the birth control method used has failed.
- Can be purchased prior and kept on hand in case of an emergency.
- Can have a prescription on file that lasts for one year.
How to get it
- Does not protect against STIs.
- May cause light bleeding/spotting headaches, cramps, breast tenderness.
- May cause nausea and vomiting especially when taking 2 pills at a time; can be taken with anti-nausea medication i.e. Gravol®
- Is available at pharmacies and online without a prescription. May be covered by some health care plans with a prescription.