ABC's of Emergency Contraception

Emergency, or post coital contraception has been in existence in various forms for quite a few years, starting in 1974.  But many people are not aware that emergency contraception has been available at any pharmacy, over the counter, to any person, without ID, parental consent, or a prescription since March 16 of this year.  So anyone, even you, can simply walk into a drug store and buy it with no questions asked.  But here are a few things you might want to know about EC.

 

 

What is it?

 

Although there are several kinds of EC available, only one type is available nationwide without prescription. It is a 1.5 mg dose of levonorgesterol, a synthetic progesterone.  Plan B One step is the brand name and is available everywhere, but there are also generics available in most states. 

 

Another option is ulipristal, sold under the brand name Ella.  It has a similar mechanism of action but is not available without a prescription in most states.

 

What's the difference?

 

Plan B One Step is the brand originally approved by the FDA and required, by federal court order and the FDA, to be available nationwide.  Many states and pharmacies also carry generics that are identical but less expensive. 

 

Plan B runs around $40 - $50 per dose but $10 discount coupons are available on line at the Plan B website here.  Generics run $35 - $45 in the store.  Both can be purchased on-line for less if you want to stock up, but if you plan to order on-line don't wait until you need it.

 

Plan B and generics are most effective when taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after intercourse, but is still somewhat effective up to 5 days after.

 

 

Ella still requires a prescription in most states and is more expensive.

 

You can get a prescription by having an on-line consultation at the Ella website here, for about $67 per dose.

 

Ella is as effective as Plan B One Step for the first 72 hours.  From 72 hours to 120 hours Ella is more effective.

 

 

 

Remember - If you could be pregnant, you could have a sexually transmitted disease.  Contraception does not prevent disease!