What is Plan B or morning after pill ?

Emergency contraception is a form of contraception used when the patient is not usually using any form of contraception or the current method used failed ( ie ruptured condom) . Also it can occur if you forgot to use your current method of contraception, like for example forgetting to use the pill or forgot to change your contraceptive patch.  This is a common knonw method of contraception however only around 6% of the USA population has ever used it.

 So what exactly  is Plan B ?

It consist of a progestational agent, called levonogestrel, which is found in most birth control pills. It comes as a two pill dose or one pill dose containing either 0.75 mg of levonogestrel per pill or 1.5 mg of levonogestrel respectively.  So , it is basically a hormone used in other methods of contraception only with a higher dosage of the medication.

How effective is Plan B ?

In a study of almost 2000 women, Plan B was shown to be 85% effective in reducing pregnancy after unprotected sex compared to a similar contraceptive pill regimen also used. It  is as you can see, not 100% effective

If I have a medical condition can I still use it?

The world health organization (also called WHO) said that there is no condition or medical disease for which the risk of morning after pill outweight its benefits. Meaning that if you need to use Plan B to avoid a pregnancy, you should use it. Conditions specifically mentioned were: Prior ectopic pregnancies, heart conditions or cardiovascular disease, history of migraines, liver disease, or women who are currently breastfeeding can still benefit from Plan B.

What happens if I am unware that I am pregnant and still take Plan B ?

Plan B however, is not indicated for women who are pregnant. However, if you take it or use the medication it is not harmful to your baby or to your existing pregnancy. Tell your doctor however that you used it, so he can explain any question you might have

How does Plan B works?

The mechanism of how plan B works still uncertain. However, most likely mechanism of action is it prevents or delays your ovulation. Also it can alter the lining of your uterus, called endometrium. In addition, it can affect the transport of the gamete and it can decrease how the corpus luteum works. The corpus luteum is a cyst that produces hormones during early pregnancy to maintain a pregnancy. If it does not work properly the pregnancy will not continue. It however, will not affect the pregnancy once it occurs.

How should I use it ?

Plan B is used as soon as unprotected sex occurs. It is usually used during the first 72 hours after a unprotected sexual encounter, and some studies suggest that it can be used up to 5 days following that. However, the sooner you take it , the more effective it will be.

If I used Plan B, can I still use it during the same menstrual cycle?

Yes you can. However the safety of long term use of Plan B has not been studied. But yes, you can use it again during the same menstrual cycle if you again had unprotected sex.

 

Plan B by Joel Rivera MD