CONTRACEPTION: "MORNING AFTER PILL"
Emergency contraception is not just a
Calling Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs)
"morning after pills" can be misleading because
you can use them right away and you have up to 120
hours (5 days) after sex to take the pills and
still prevent pregnancy.
Emergency contraceptives available in the United
States include: ella tablets, using increased
doses of certain oral contraceptive pills, or
insertion of a copper intrauterine device (IUD)
within five days after unprotected intercourse.
Emergency contraception pills can reduce the risk
of pregnancy up to 120 hours after unprotected
sex, but they work best when taken within 72
hours. They do not protect against sexually
transmitted infections. Emergency contraception
can be used when a condom breaks, after a sexual
assault, or any time unprotected sexual
intercourse occurs. Do not use emergency
contraceptives as your only protection against
pregnancy if you are sexually active or planning
to be, because they are not as effective as any
There are currently five different brands of
emergency contraceptive pills that may be
available in U.S. pharmacies.
- Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next
Choice and Levonorgestrel Tablets are approved
for sale without a prescription to women and men
17 and older. Women ages 16 and younger need a
- Ella tablets are sold by prescription only,
regardless of age.
To get emergency contraception without a
prescription you will be asked to show proof of
your age. You will have to ask the pharmacist for
emergency contraception because it is kept behind
the pharmacy counter.
HOW TO FIND EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVES:
If you need a prescription for EC:
- Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the Planned
Parenthood center nearest you, or
- For more information on Ella, Levonorgestrel
Tablets, Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, Next
Choice One Dose and Emergency Contraception go
Emergency contraception may also be available in
health clinics, the offices of private physicians,
and in hospital emergency rooms.
EFFECTIVENESS OF ECPs
Two time factors influence the efficacy of ECPs:
the amount of time elapsed after unprotected
intercourse, and the point in a woman’s cycle at
which she had sex. They are not as effective as
correct and consistent use of contraceptive
methods such as the Pill, IUD, or contraceptive
implants or injections, and they do not protect
against sexually transmitted infections.
Parenthood: Emergency Contraception; and The Emergency
PREPARED BY: 2-1-1/lb
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: