Emergency Contraceptive Pills: The Basics of How to Use
A brief discussion of Plan B One Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, and generic levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pills: how to use them, where to obtain, and dosing information.
Today in the first of three presentations, we are reviewing the emergency contraceptives Plan B One Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, and generic levonorgestrel.
We will discuss how to use emergency contraceptive pills, where they can be obtained, and dosing recommendations.
For complete information, please review all three videos.
The emergency contraceptive pill is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, contraceptive failure or misuse, or after a sexual assault.
Millions of women have safely used the emergency contraceptive pill and there have been no reports of serious complications.
The emergency contraceptive pill is frequently referred to as “The Morning After Pill” but this is a misnomer, as women do not have to wait until the morning after unprotected sex to take emergency contraception.
Actually, the emergency contraceptive pill is more effective the sooner you take it – as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
Levonorgestrel is the name of the progestin that is found in these products.
Levonorgestrel has been used safely in a lower strength in regular birth control pills for many years.
Plan B One Step and it's generic equivalent, Next Choice One Dose are available from the pharmacy or clinic as a single tablet of 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel.
This tablet should be taken as soon as possible up to 5 days, or 120 hours, after unprotected sex. This is the preferred regimen recommended by the World Health Organization.
There is also a 2-tablet regimen:
Next Choice and its generic version.
Each tablet contains 0.75 mg of levonorgestrel.
There are 2 different dosing options for Next Choice:
Preferably, you should take both tablets at the same time up to 5 days, or 120 hours, after unprotected sex.
This regimen is equivalent to the Plan B One Step and Next Choice One Dose one-tablet regimen.
Alternatively, you can take the 1st tablet as soon as possible after unprotected sex, then the second tablet 12 hours later, as noted in the package insert. For optimal effectiveness, the first tablet should be taken within 3 days, or 72 hours, after unprotected sex.
In either case, the regimen should be started as quickly as possible after unprotected sex.
Clinical studies in over 10,000 women have shown that the levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill regimens are 52 to 94 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.
Women or men 17 years of age or older can obtain emergency contraceptive pills from their pharmacist or clinic without a prescription; but an ID with a birthdate must be presented.
In most states women younger than 17 years of age will need to contact their doctor for a prescription.
Prices will vary for emergency contraceptive pills. Generics are the least costly and are just as effective as the brand name product. Ask your pharmacist about generic options.
It is also important to remember that emergency contraception does not protect against the AIDS virus or other sexually transmitted diseases; only a condom can do this.
Thank you for joining us at Drugs.com for a brief review of the emergency contraceptive pill, such as Plan B One Step and Next Choice. Please refer to our patient and professional information, drug interaction checker, and additional tools on Drugs.com.
Patients with a concern about the use of emergency contraceptive pills should consult with their health care provider.
Visit Drugs.com/plan-b for more information
An overview of how the emergency contraceptive pill works, safety and common side effects
This animation shows the process of ovulation (the release a single egg cell from an ovary). Ovulation occurs though a sequence of hormonal responses. Located deep within the brain, the pituitary gland releases the hormones FSH and LH, which travel through the blood stream to the ovaries. These hormones signal the development and release a single egg cell from one of the ovaries. The sweeping motion of the fimbriae draws the egg cell through a very small space in the open body cavity into the uterine, or fallopian, tube. The egg cell will either be fertilized by sperm or will dissolve if fertilization does not take place.
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