Morning After Pill / Emergency Contraception (Levonorgestrel, or Plan B)
Information here is general in nature. Over time information may get changed, contradicted or added to. You should always consult a medical practitioner or pharmacist for up to date and comprehensive information.
Emergency Contraception: The "Morning After Pill " (Levonorgestrel, or Plan B)
Approximate effectiveness in preventing pregnancy: 95% when used as directed
No protection against STDs
MAY be made ineffective by antibiotic use. May react with other medications; consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking antibiotics. There is disagreement on this possibility.
If a condom breaks or unexpected sexual intercourse happens, a woman can consider using the "Morning After Pill".
The Morning After pill is a pill that prevents pregnancy going beyond fertilization of the egg, if fertilization even occurs. It should not be confused with the controversial "Abortion Drug" RU486, which at the time of writing is not available in Canada.
It works best if taken the day after intercourse but can be effective if taken up to five days later. It will have no effect on a pregnancy if pregnancy has already occurred.
"For example, if you follow proper instructions for the most common type of ECP, it will be approximately 95% effective within 24 hours, 85% effective within 25 to 48 hours and 58% effective between 49 and 72 hours." Source: Canadian Federation for Sexual Health
The Morning After pill can be gotten without a prescription (Over-the Counter, or OTC) from a clinic, doctor, or, in Canada, many pharmacists.You will - if that pharmacy carries it - have the option of speaking to the pharmacist who may advise you and give you information. The information you give the pharmacist is confidential.
The most common dosage involves two pills: Take one as soon as possible after the intercourse and the second one, exactly 12 hours after the first. A less common type of emergency contraceptive pill involves four pills and is not available "OTC".
It works by giving the woman a high dose of hormones which stop the egg from becoming fertilized, or by making the uterus' lining unable to hold a fertilized egg. The Morning After Pill should be considered an "emergency" measure as the side effects are nausea and vomiting. There may be other side effects which the doctor or pharmacist can tell you about.