When Plan A Doesn’t Work, Take Plan B

Sometimes during sex, things do not go as planned. A condom can break, or you might realize you forgot to take your birth control. This is where anxiety sets in. Luckily, there is an over-the-counter, non-prescription Plan B pill for these situations. If you have not taken the pill before, then you may have a lot of questions about it. How does it work? How soon should you take it? And what are the side effects? It might be scary, but Plan B will relieve some of the concerns and stress you may have after you learn about it. 

How Effective Is Plan B?

post it note with "time for plan B" on it stuck to a clock.
It takes 72 hours for sperm to fertilize an egg, so the sooner you take the pill, the better!

Plan B is a pill, or a set of pills that contain a hormone called levonorgestrel. It is also known as “the morning-after pill,” and its purpose is to prevent ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of an egg.  The sole purpose of Plan B is to prevent the implantation of an egg, so if you wait too long and this happens it will not work.

In order for the pill to be effective, you must take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex. It takes 72 hours for sperm to fertilize an egg, so with that said, the sooner you take the pill, the better. The longer you wait, the less effective it becomes. If you take the pill within the first 24 hours, then it will be 94% effective. If you take the pill at 72 hours, then the effectiveness rate drops down to 89%. 

The Side Effects

The only known side effect of taking the Plan B pill is irregular periods. Out of the millions of women who have taken the morning-after pill, no one has reported any serious problems. The pill will change your period because of the hormones introduced to your body. You might have a lighter or heavier flow, and might spot in between your next period. Other reported side effects are mild fatigue, dizziness, headaches, tender breasts, nausea, and belly pain. If you do end up throwing up within 2 hours of taking the pill, then you must take it again. 

If you are taking antibiotics, or certain medications, make sure to ask the pharmacist or your doctor before taking Plan B. Some medications will make levonorgestrel less effective and can result in pregnancy. 

Where Can I Buy The Pill?

Because the pill is over-the-counter, you can purchase it at any local drugstore, or pharmacy, such as CVS, or Rite

Caucasian man dressed in a white coat handing out medicine to someone.
Pharmacies carry the Plan B pill, and can not deny you it based on your age, or gender.

Aid. You will not have to show your ID, and you can buy the pill no matter what your age or gender is. Pharmacists cannot deny you the pill due to your age or gender. Planned Parenthood centers also carry the pill.

Plan B is not covered by your insurance and will cost you anywhere from $40-$50. Some places will also carry My Way (another morning-after pill), which is cheaper, costing you about $15-$45. The brand does not matter, because all the morning-after pills have the same amount of levonorgestrel, and work the same. If you can not afford the pill, you may be able to get it for free or discounted from Planned Parenthood. 

Accidents happen, and in some situations, it is better to be prepared. If you want to prevent pregnancy, definitely prepare for sex slip-ups. It is better to have Plan B on hand in your medicine cabinet just in case. But if not, then you can always go purchase it from your drugstore without the embarrassment of showing your ID. The pill works better the sooner you take it, so if Plan A fails, then take Plan B.

About The Author:
Cassandra Love

With over a decade of helpful content experience Cassandra has dedicated her career to making sure people have access to relevant, easy to understand, and valuable information. After realizing a huge knowledge gap Cassandra spent years researching and working with health insurance companies to create accessible guides and articles to walk anyone through every aspect of the insurance process.

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