Plan B: Doubling Up On the Pill?

Mistakes happen. That’s life. But what do you do when you’re in he heat of the moment and afterwards you realize that you can’t get or even afford to purchase “Plan B”, emergency contraception?

Don’t worry. You still have options.

Although it’s not recommended to double up on your birth control pills for regular cycles, in the case of emergency contraception there are certain pills that you can double up on to get the same effect as emergency contraception.

Some birth control pills contain levonorgestrel, a compound that is used in emergency contraception. In the 1970s, healthcare providers assigned certain birth control pills specifically for emergency contraception usage; this was prior to the onset of research and the creation of products such as “Plan B”. In 2009, the FDA approved the sale of emergency contraception over the counter for women ages 17 and older.

Today, there are nearly two dozen different brands of birth control pills that can be used as back up for emergency contraception if you are unable to attain items such as ella, Plan B, Next Choice, or Lievonorgestrel Tablets, which are sold over-the-counter to women and men ages 17 and older. As you’ll see in the table below, it is important to understand the dosage level in each pill to know how many you would need to take to get he same effects. Even though they are not branded and sold as emergency contraceptive pills, they have been proven to be as safe and effective in preventing pregnancy in 120 hours or up to 5 days after sex.

In order for birth controls to work as emergency contraceptives, you’ll need to take two doses of them. One immediately, and then the other 12 hours later. Using the chart below, you should be able to find your brand of birth control, and the necessary dosage you’ll need in case you ever need a fix and get what you need the morning after. However, it’s important to not abuse this; don’t swallow extra pills than what is recommended. It will not reduce your risk of pregnancy more, but rather make you feel sick to your stomach. If you do feel ill, see a doctor immediately. It is important that you not solely rely on birth control to back you up. You should work to stick to a regular birth control method and practice safe sex.

Brand Company First Doseb Second Doseb
(12 hours later)
Ulipristal Acetate per Dose (mg) Ethinyl Estradiol
per Dose (µg)
per Dose (mg)c
Ulipristal acetate pills
ella Watson 1 white pill Noneb 30
Progestin-only pills
Levonorgestrel Tablets Perrigo 2 white pills Noneb 1.5
Next Choice Watson 2 peach pills Noneb 1.5
Plan B One-Step Teva 1 whilte pill None 1.5
Combined progestin and estrogen pills
Aviane Teva 5 orange pills 5 orange pills 100 0.50
Cryselle Teva 4 white pills 4 white pills 120 0.60
Enpresse Teva 4 orange pills 4 orange pills 120 0.50
Jolessa Teva 4 pink pills 4 pink pills 120 0.60
Lessina Teva 5 pink pills 5 pink pills 100 0.50
Levora Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills 120 0.60
Lo/Ovral Akrimax 4 white pills 4 white pills 120 0.60
LoSeasonique Teva 5 orange pills 5 orange pills 100 0.50
Low-Ogestrel Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills 120 0.60
Lutera Watson 5 white pills 5 white pills 100 0.50
Lybrel Wyeth 6 yellow pills 6 yellow pills 120 0.54
Nordette Teva 4 light-orange pills 4 light-orange pills 120 0.60
Ogestrel Watson 2 white pills 2 white pills 100 0.50
Portia Teva 4 pink pills 4 pink pills 120 0.60
Quasense Watson 4 white pills 4 white pills 120 0.60
Seasonale Teva 4 pink pills 4 pink pills 120 0.60
Seasonique Teva 4 light-blue-green pills 4 light-blue-green pills 120 0.60
Sronyx Watson 5 white pills 5 while pills 100 0.50
Trivora Watson 4 pink pills 4 pink pills 120 0.50
[Source: Emergency Contraception Website]


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