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When it comes to emergency contraception (EC), there can be a lot of confusion. A great example: What’s the difference between Take Action and Plan B?
Well, both “morning-after” pills are pretty similar in a lot of ways, as they contain the same active ingredient.
But they also differ in a few ways, too.
To help you figure out which EC pill is best for you, we’ve rounded up all the information on both.
Plan B is the EC pill that’s talked about most often.
It contains a synthetic version of the progestin hormone called levonorgestrel, which temporarily prevents an ovary from releasing an egg.
The same hormone can be found in regular birth control pills, though Plan B contains a higher dose.
No ovulation means that there’s nothing for the sperm to come into contact with and, therefore, no way of falling pregnant.
However, no EC pill is 100-percent effective, as things like whether you’ve already ovulated and how quickly you take it affect how well they work.
For example, Plan B is best taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
It’s also important to remember that EC pills cannot protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or terminate an existing pregnancy.
Take Action is a levonorgestrel EC pill that works in the exact same way as Plan B.
As well as stopping ovulation, these pills may prevent fertilization — where a sperm joins with an egg — and implantation.
In fact, you could describe Take Action as Plan B without the branded label. The only real difference is the price — more on that below.
|Take Action||Plan B|
|Cost||$35 to $40||$40 to $50|
|Effectiveness||75 to 89% if taken within 3 days||75 to 89% if taken within 3 days|
|Dosage||single 1.5 mg pill||single 1.5 mg pill|
|Side effects||nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, dizziness, breast or chest tenderness, irregular menstrual bleeding||nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, dizziness, breast or chest tenderness, irregular menstrual bleeding|
What they contain
Both Plan B and Take Action now come as a single 1.5 milligram pill.
And they both contain levonorgestrel — a synthetic version of the progestin hormone.
How much they cost and where to get them
Take Action tends to cost around 20 percent less than Plan B. So while Plan B can set you back between $40 and $50, you can buy Take Action for as little as $35.
However, it can sometimes be more difficult to find Take Action.
You can buy it online via the likes of Walmart and Target. Some drugstores and pharmacies may sell it over the counter as well.
But Plan B will be available in most drugstores and pharmacies as well as online.
In fact, you can save $10 off Plan B with a coupon or upload a picture of your receipt for a rebate if you’ve already bought it.
How effective they are
Both pills are designed to be taken within 72 hours of sex without a barrier method. If taken within this timeframe, they’ll reduce the chance of pregnancy by 75 to 89 percent.
The sooner you take either Take Action or Plan B, the higher the percentage.
But, according to Planned Parenthood, they can be taken up to 5 days after sex.
However, you should expect a lower chance of them working if you go beyond the recommended 3 days.
Some things can reduce how effective both pills are. For example, they
Plus, certain medications and herbal products can have an effect —think the likes of barbiturates, St. John’s wort, and some HIV or AIDS medications.
It’s also worth noting that if you vomit a couple of hours after taking Take Action or Plan B, you should contact a healthcare professional to see if you need another dose.
What side effects they have
As they contain the same amount of the same active ingredient, both Plan B and Take Action have identical potential side effects.
Nausea is common, along with stomach pain, headaches, and feeling tired or dizzy.
Some people may also experience changes in menstrual bleeding, whether that’s heavier, lighter, or just irregular.
Breast or chest tenderness has also been reported.
Both EC pills are identical in the way they work and how effective they are. So your choice will likely be based on cost and accessibility.
Take Action is cheaper than Plan B but can be trickier to get hold of.
On the other hand, you should be able to easily find Plan B in a local drugstore or pharmacy.
Is Take Action the same as Plan B?
They contain the same ingredient and the same amount of it. Plus, they’re just as effective as each other.
So although they have different names and costs, they’re practically identical.
Where can you get Take Action and Plan B?
You can find morning-after pills like Take Action and Plan B in the family planning aisle of drugstores, pharmacies, and superstores.
Some places may have them behind the counter instead.
You can also buy both pills online— though remember you’ll have to think about shipping times.
Do you need a prescription for Take Action or Plan B?
No, you don’t need a prescription for either of these EC pills.
They’re available over the counter and can be bought without ID.
Why is Plan B more expensive than Take Action?
Plan B is more expensive because it’s the branded version of the levonorgestrel morning-after pill.
Take Action is a generic version and therefore cheaper.
Does insurance cover these emergency contraceptives?
If you have insurance or Medicaid, you may be covered.
But you’ll likely have to ask a nurse, doctor, or another healthcare professional for a prescription — even though these emergency contraceptives don’t require one.
Which is safer?
Morning-after pills like Take Action and Plan B are considered safe. And one isn’t seen as safer than another.
Neither will cause any long-term side effects as they only remain in your body for a short while.
And they won’t affect your future fertility or any regular birth control that you take.
Apart from price, there aren’t any differences between Take Action and Plan B. So you have the choice to buy either one of them if you need EC.
However, you shouldn’t attempt to use morning-after pills or any type of EC as your regular birth control.
Instead, speak to a healthcare professional about a more effective and longer-lasting method, like the pill, patch, or shot.
There are plenty of companies that offer a more accessible and affordable way to access these contraceptives.
Hers sells birth control pills with free shipping and reliable refills, while Nurx stocks the pill, patch, ring, or shot and can be covered by insurance or Medicaid.
Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraine, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.