According to the
Emergency contraception is a
The most popular form of emergency contraception is the emergency contraceptive pill, also called “the morning-after pill.”
When emergency contraception is taken within 3 to 5 days of unprotected P-in-V sex, it has an up to
Here’s what you need to know about the only two contraceptive pills approved by the
Emergency contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies when P-in-V sex occurs without participants using any birth control or using a method that failed.
Generally, for most emergency contraception to work, a person has to take it within
Methods of emergency contraception are the copper intrauterine device (IUD), which is the
The FDA has
- ella (ulipristal acetate)
- Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel)
Emergency contraception doesn’t cause an abortion, nor does it protect a person against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV.
On the flip side, the
According to the
Emergency contraceptive pills have a
|$40–$68 for one tablet
|Needs a prescription. You can get a prescription from a doctor, pharmacy, or telehealth birth control service, like Nurx, Lemonaid, Pandia Health, Pill Club, and Simple Health.
|It should be taken soon after unprotected P-in-V sex or within 5 days (120 hours).
|Ella is highly effective, but people with a BMI of 30 or higher have a slightly lower efficacy rate of 96.9%. The
|Ella contains 30 mg of ulipristal acetate, a synthetic progesterone agonist/antagonist.
|Around $43 for one 1.5mg tablet.
|Plan B is the
|It should be taken soon after unprotected P-in-V sex or within 3 days (72 hours).
|Like ella, Plan B is very effective. But people with a BMI of 30 or higher have a slightly lower efficacy rate of 92.6%.The
|There’s 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel, a progestin-only (synthetic progesterone hormone) medication.
Ella contains 30 mg of ulipristal acetate, the active ingredient. Its inactive ingredients include:
- lactose monohydrate
- croscarmellose sodium
- povidone K-30
- magnesium stearate
Ulipristal acetate is a synthetic progesterone antagonist that works as an antiprogestin, a substance that
The ella website also says that no emergency contraceptive pill can be effective when ovulation occurs.
It also prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation so that the egg is not released early enough to get fertilized by the sperm.
When taken before ovulation, levonorgestrel postpones follicular development, so the ovaries don’t release eggs that meet with sperm.
A tablet of ella may cost around $40 to $68.
The Affordable Care Act
You can contact your health insurance provider to find out if your plan covers ella.
If you don’t have health insurance, you may be able to
A tablet of Plan B may be around $40 to $50.
You may also get generic versions, like My Way, Option 2, Take Action, Aftera, My Choice, and EContra at a lower price.
Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans should cover the cost of FDA-approved emergency contraceptive pills. So, if you have health insurance or Medicaid, they may cover the cost.
Some family planning clinics or college health centers may also make it available for free or at a subsidized price.
However, ella has a window of action of
Plan B should be taken within 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected P-in-V sex. But just like ella, the sooner the pill is taken, the higher its efficacy.
According to the CDC’s 2010 U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, there are no conditions where the risks of using emergency contraception outweigh the benefits.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, this means vagina owners with the following conditions still have access to emergency contraception:
- heart disease
- previous ectopic pregnancy
- liver disease
People who are breastfeeding can also receive and take emergency contraception.
However, the FDA doesn’t recommend ella for people who:
- are pregnant
- are breastfeeding
- are postmenopausal
- haven’t had their first period
The ella website suggests that, if you take ella while breastfeeding, you shouldn’t breastfeed for a week after taking it.
The company also mentions that ella may not be suitable for those who:
- are allergic to ulipristal acetate or any ingredients in ella
- have certain medical conditions
- are taking certain medications
The FDA also warns that some medications or herbal products may make ella less effective. Some examples include:
- St. John’s Wort
Consider speaking with a doctor if you’re on any medications before using emergency contraceptive pills.
Some common side effects are headache, nausea, and stomach pain.
Other side effects include:
- menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea)
- change in menstrual cycle
According to the FDA, there are no established adverse effects of using Plan B or other progestin-only pills during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Vagina owners below age 17 can safely use Plan B
Some common side effects of Plan B include:
- heavier menstrual bleeding
- stomach pain
- breast tenderness
- delayed period
The FDA, however, recommends that you see a doctor if, after 3 to 5 weeks of taking Plan B, you experience severe lower stomach pain. Also, if your period is later than 7 days, consider taking a pregnancy test.
Like ella, certain medications and herbs may reduce Plan B’s effectiveness. These include:
- St. John’s wort
Consult a doctor if you’re on any regular medications before taking emergency contraception.
You can buy both ella (with a prescription) and Plan B (without prescription) at pharmacies, family planning clinics, and telehealth birth control services, like:
- Pill Club
- Simple Health
- Pandia Health
Most people who have taken ella report that it worked to prevent pregnancy after unprotected P-in-V sex.
However, they also reported side effects, like delayed period, nausea, cramps, back pain, sore breasts, and bloating.
Ella has a 7.1 out of 10 average rating from over 600 reviews on Drugs.com
Reviews on Drugs.com generally tell other users they shouldn’t worry about getting pregnant if they take Plan B, because it’s very effective.
However, they also mention that they experienced side effects, like painful periods, mood swings, swollen breasts, and late periods.
It has an 8.5 out of 10 average rating from over 800 reviews on the site.
The copper IUD is another
The copper IUD is a device that’s inserted into the uterus and
Additionally, even when the egg is already fertilized, the IUD may also prevent implantation in the uterus that marks the beginning of pregnancy.
The copper IUD is described as the most effective emergency contraception, with a
The copper IUD is a long lasting reversible contraceptive option, and it can stay in a person and be effective for
You can insert it
You need a prescription to get this device, and a doctor has to insert it for you. You can make an appointment with a doctor or a family planning clinic for the procedure.
How long do you have to use emergency contraception?
Emergency contraceptive pills are a single tablet you take only once after having unprotected P-in-V sex. You can take it any time of the day or night, with or without food.
It should only be used as an emergency birth control option and is not effective as a regular contraceptive method.
How many times can you use a morning-after pill?
You can only take the morning after pill once after unprotected P-in-V sex.
Though not recommended, the morning-after pill may be taken more than once during the same menstrual cycle, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
It’s best to speak with a doctor for advice on the best birth control method for you.
The best emergency contraception or birth control varies according to each person’s:
- health status
Availability and accessibility: Plan B is more readily available, more cost-effective, doesn’t need a prescription, and can be found in many retail stores compared with ella. You may opt for this pill if you’re in an emergency situation and don’t have time to wait for an ella prescription.
Cost: Plan B is cheaper than ella, making it a more pocket-friendly emergency contraceptive option. However, health insurance or Medicaid may cover the cost. You can also get it for free or at a subsidized cost at a family planning clinic.
Health status: The copper IUD is the most effective option for a person with a BMI of 30 or more. According to the FDA, a pregnant or breastfeeding person may use Plan B without it having any unusual side effects on them.
Lifestyle: A person who has had unprotected P-in-V sex and doesn’t take emergency contraception within the first 2 to 3 days may opt for ella or a copper IUD, which have longer efficacy windows.
Are ella and Plan B safe?
The CDC’s 2010 U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use also mentions that the benefits of using emergency contraception always outweigh the risks.
Is there a better emergency contraception than ella and Plan B?
In terms of effectiveness, copper IUD is more effective and lasts longer than ella and Plan B, with
However, the best contraceptive option for a person depends on factors, like lifestyle, health status, cost, availability, and accessibility.
Are ella and Plan B both over the counter?
Ella is only available with a prescription. You can get the prescription from a doctor, pharmacy, clinic, and telehealth birth control service. While Plan B is an over-the-counter medication, you can still get it in retail stores.
When should you take ella and Plan B?
For increased effectiveness, consider taking ella and Plan B as soon as you have unprotected or inadequately protected P-in-V sex.
You can take ella at any time of the day, with or without food, within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected P-in-V sex. You can use Plan B at any time of the day, with or without food, within 3 days (72 hours).
Will morning-after pills affect my next period?
Yes, emergency contraception may affect your next period. A delayed or early period, spotting, heavy period, and irregular bleeding are
If your period is 7 days late or longer, consider taking a pregnancy test to confirm if you’re pregnant or not.
Do I need to take Plan B or ella if I’m on birth control?
You don’t need to take Plan B or ella if you’re on birth control, and it doesn’t fail you, or you don’t miss it when you have P-in-V sex.
However, if you’re on birth control, and it fails, or you forget to take it when you have P-in-V sex, you should use an emergency contraception.
Is Plan B or ella the same as the ‘abortion pill’?
Emergency contraceptive pills work to prevent pregnancy by delaying or preventing ovulation. Once ovulation happens, these pills don’t work to
An abortion pill (also known as a medical abortion) is taken when vagina owners who are under 10 weeks pregnant want to terminate their pregnancy.
People with vaginas
Consider using an emergency contraceptive pill only when you need to, as opposed to making it your regular choice of birth control.
If you have doubts about which emergency contraception is best for you, you can speak with a doctor who may help you determine the right method for you.
Frances Gatta is a freelance healthcare writer with experience writing on general health, women’s health, healthcare technology, mental health, and personalized nutrition. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.