IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT
PLAN B ONE-STEP®
Plan B One-Step® is emergency contraception that helps prevent pregnancy when taken within
72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure. The sooner it's taken, the better it works. It is a backup method of preventing pregnancy and should not be used as regular birth control because it's not as effective. Use as directed.
If Plan B One-Step® is taken as directed, it can significantly decrease the chance that you will get pregnant. About 7 out of every 8 women who would have gotten pregnant will not become pregnant after taking Plan B One-Step®.
Plan B One-Step®?
No, Plan B One-Step® is available over the counter. It can usually be found in the family planning aisle at many retail stores. No prescription or ID is required, and there is no age restriction.
Plan B One-Step® is one tablet that contains levonorgestrel, a hormone that has been used in many birth control pills for several decades. Plan B One-Step® contains a higher dose of levonorgestrel than birth control pills, but works in a similar way to help prevent pregnancy. It works mainly by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It is possible that Plan B One-Step® may also work by preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus (womb). Remember, Plan B One-Step® should not be used as a regular birth control method, because it's not as effective.
SIDE EFFECTS OF PLAN B ONE-STEP®
When used as directed, Plan B One-Step® is generally safe and effective. Plan B One-Step® contains levonorgestrel, the same hormone used in many birth control pills, just at a higher dose. But it shouldn't be used as regular birth control, because it's not as effective.
Some women may experience side effects, which may include:
- A period that is lighter, heavier, early, or late
- Lower abdominal cramps
- Breast tenderness
Some women taking Plan B One-Step® may have changes in their period such as spotting or bleeding before their next period. If your period is more than a week late, you should get a pregnancy test and follow up with your healthcare provider.
If you should experience severe abdominal pain, you may have an ectopic pregnancy (outside the uterus) and should get immediate medical attention.
If you vomit within 2 hours of taking the medication, call a healthcare provider to find out if you should repeat the dose.
TAKING PLAN B ONE-STEP®
Plan B One-Step® is a single pill you take by mouth. It must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure to help prevent pregnancy. The sooner you take it, the better it works.
Plan B One-Step® is for a woman who has had unprotected sex or birth control failure within the last 72 hours (3 days) and wants help preventing pregnancy. The sooner it's taken, the better it works. It’s available without a prescription or ID, and with no age restriction. If you have any questions about whether you should take Plan B One-Step®, please talk to your physician or healthcare provider.
You’ll know if Plan B One-Step® worked when you get your next period, which should come at the expected time or within a week of that time. If your period is more than a week late, it is possible you may be pregnant. You should get a pregnancy test and follow up with your healthcare provider.
Keep in mind, Plan B One-Step® is less likely to work if:
- You've already had unprotected sex or birth control failure earlier in your menstrual cycle
- You have unprotected sex or birth control failure again in the same menstrual cycle after taking
Plan B One-Step®because it only protects against one act of unprotected sex or birth control failure
- You vomit within 2 hours of taking Plan B One-Step® (talk to your healthcare provider if this happens)
Take Plan B One-Step® within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure. The sooner you take it, the better it works.
Plan B One-Step® emergency contraception is used as a backup method for birth control if, for example:
- Your regular birth control failed (e.g., your partner's condom broke or slipped)
- You made a mistake with your regular birth control method (e.g., you forgot to take your birth control pill)
- You didn't use any birth control method
Plan B One-Step®?
Do not take Plan B One-Step®:
- If you're already pregnant, because it won't work
- If you're allergic to levonorgestrel or any of the ingredients in
Plan B One-Step®
- In place of regular birth control, because it’s not as effective
You should resume your regular method of contraception—or start one, if you don't have a regular method—right away, since Plan B One-Step® does not protect against additional acts of unprotected sex.
There is no medical evidence that Plan B One-Step® would affect a developing baby. Plan B One-Step® will not affect an existing pregnancy. If you have any concerns, please be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
Plan B One-Step® should not be taken as regular birth control. Plan B One-Step® is not as effective as using a regular birth control method correctly and consistently. It is a backup method to be taken if your regular birth control fails, or if you have sex without birth control. If you have unprotected sex after taking Plan B One-Step®, it will not prevent you from getting pregnant.
Plan B One-Step® should only be taken when emergency contraception is needed (when your primary birth control method fails or you forget to use birth control). You can take Plan B One-Step® when you need it, but remember that it should never replace regular methods of birth control, as it isn't as effective.
Plan B One-Step® doesn't provide
long-term protection against future pregnancy—it works to prevent pregnancy after only one act of unprotected sex or birth control failure. If you are sexually active, even occasionally, see your healthcare provider or visit a clinic to find a method of birth control that suits you.
Plan B One-Step® is easy to find. It’s available over the counter and can usually be found in the family planning aisle at many retail stores. No prescription or ID is required, and there is no age restriction.
To find a store near you that may carry Plan B One-Step®, use our Store Locator.
If you have questions or need more information about Plan B One-Step®, call our toll-free number,
If you're not sure how to bring up the topic of taking Plan B One-Step® and emergency contraception, the following tips may help to make "the talk" as relaxed and productive as possible:
- Do your research first. You'll be better prepared to answer any questions he may have about
Plan B One-Step®
- Think about what to say. Make a list of what you want to discuss, and try practicing your talk out loud. Think about potential responses to any concerns your partner may have. Remember, the more honest, calm, and clear you are, the more likely he will respond to you the same way
- Find the right time and place. Make sure you'll have enough privacy, without being interrupted or feeling rushed
- Be respectful. Ask your partner what he's thinking and feeling. Be open to his suggestions and opinions, and involve him in the conversation with your healthcare provider
- Discuss future contraception. Safe sex is a must, even if you're in a monogamous relationship. Being safe is all about being honest with each other, including having an open discussion about contraceptives. It will also help you avoid emergencies in the future
Check out the websites below to stay informed on what's happening in women's healthcare, and to learn more about birth control options and emergency contraception.
- Emergency Contraception Website (Princeton)
- Mayo Clinic
- Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
- National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association
Although the information above may be useful, it shouldn't replace the advice of your healthcare provider. For questions about birth control pills and other women's health issues, please talk to your healthcare provider.