Morning After Pill

Emergency Contraception

(Morning After Pill, Plan B)

What does it mean? More importantly… What does it do?

How does it “prevent” pregnancy?

Emergency Contraception is a very large dose of the birth control pill. It is believed that EC prevents pregnancy in one of three ways:

  • 1. Prevents the egg from being released from the ovary (Ovulation)
  • 2. Prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg (Fertilization/Conception)
  • 3. Prevents the pregnancy from implanting itself onto the lining of the uterus.(Implantation)

 What Is Available?

Plan B

Plan B, commonly known as Morning After Pill, is an over the counter emergency contraception consisting of high doses of oral contraceptives taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

Next Choice

Next Choice is a generic product that contains levonorgestrel. It is pharmaceutically equivalent to the two tablet Plan B product.


Ella is an emergency contraception that requires a prescription from a physician. It can be taken up to 5 days after intercourse. This medication is a combination of large doses of oral contraceptives and misoprostol, a component of RU486.

Common Side Effects

Since EC is a very large dose of the birth control pill, the risks for common side effects from taking hormonal contraceptives are also increased. These side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding into the cranial cavity)
  • Cerebral thrombosis (blood clot that drains blood from the brain)
  • Melasma (skin discoloration; usually dark, irregular patches)
  • Migraine
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Retinal thrombosis (blockage of the central retinal vein that carries blood away from the eye)
  • Change in corneal curvature (steepening of the cornea)
  • Thrombophlebitis and venous thrombosis with or without embolism (blood clots in the veins)
  • Mesenteric thrombosis (blood clot in the major veins that drain blood from the intestine)
  • Hemorrhagic eruption (bleeding eruption)
  • Arterial thromboembolism (blood clots in the heart)
  • Pulmonary embolism (arterial blockage, usually from a blood clot, that cuts off one lung’s blood supply)
  • Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Budd-Chiari Syndrome (closing of the veins that carry deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body into the heart)
  • Hemolytic uremic syndrome (kidney failure and low platelet count in the blood)
  • Increased risk of Ectopic Pregnancy (Fertilized Egg implanted in Fallopian Tube instead of Uterus.) This is a potentially fatal condition.

Can Everyone Take Emergency Contraception?

Women who smoke cigarettes and those who have experienced any of the following conditions are advised
NOT to take EC:

  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer of the breast of reproductive organs
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Sever migraine headaches
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Morning After Pill

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