Plan B (Emergency Contraception or the Morning After Pill) for Teens

On August 24, 2006 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Plan B (also known as emergency contraception or the morning after pill), as an over-the-counter (OTC) option for women aged 18 and older. Plan B has been available to all women with a prescription, but now women 18 and older can get it without a prescription.

Plan B contains an ingredient used in prescription birth control pills but at a higher dose and with a different dosing regimen. It prevents pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. Research has shown that Plan B is effective and safe with teens. In addition, an increase in awareness and availability of emergency contraception to teens does not change reported rates of sexual activity or increase the frequency of unprotected intercourse among adolescents.

The Society for Adolescent Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics believe that requiring adolescents age 17 and younger to obtain a prescription is not good policy: it increases the risk of unintended pregnancies and childbearing among adolescents and does not protect their health.

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