Emergency contraception is an effective option for preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it isn't as effective as other methods of contraception and isn't recommended for routine use. The morning-after pill also doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.
An estimated 1 to 2 women will become pregnant out of 100 women who have unprotected sex one time and correctly use the morning-after pill.
The morning-after pill isn't appropriate for everyone. Tell your health care provider if:
- You're allergic to any component of the morning-after pill
- You're taking certain medications that may decrease the effectiveness of the morning-after pill, such as barbiturates or St. John's wort
- You're breast-feeding (Plan B One-Step and Next Choice can be used during breast-feeding, but Ella isn't recommended)
In addition, make sure you're not pregnant before using Ella. The effects of Ella on a developing baby are unknown. However, if you're already pregnant when you take Plan B One-Step or Next Choice, the treatment will simply be ineffective and won't harm the developing baby.
Side effects of the morning-after pill typically last only a few days and may include:
Jun. 28, 2013
- Nausea or vomiting
- Breast tenderness
- Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding
- Lower abdominal pain or cramps
- Ella (prescribing information). Parsippany, N.J.: Watson Pharma Inc.; 2012. http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E. Accessed May 7, 2012.
- Plan B One-Step (prescribing information). Pomona, N.Y.: Duramed Pharmaceuticals Inc.; 2009. http://planbonestep.com/plan-b-prescribers/index.aspx. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Next Choice (prescribing information). Corona, Calif.: Watson Laboratories Inc.; 2009. http://mynextchoice.com/pi.asp. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Zieman M. Emergency contraception. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- 5. Hatcher RA, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: Ardent Media; 2011:113.
- Emergency contraception. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/For_Patients. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Spitz IM. Mifepristone for the medical termination of pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- Noe G, et al. Contraceptive efficacy of emergency contraception with levonorgestrel given before or after ovulation. Contraception. 2010;81:414.
- Noe G, et al. Contraceptive efficacy of emergency contraception with levonorgestrel given before or after ovulation. Contraception. 2011;84:486.
- Gemzell-Danielsson K. Mechanism of action of emergency contraception. Contraception. 2010;82:404.
- Prabakar I, et al. Emergency contraception. BMJ. 2012;344:e1492.
- FDA approves Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive for use without a prescription for all women of child-bearing potential. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm358082.htm. Accessed June 26, 2013.