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.

BrandCompanyFirst DosebSecond Doseb
(12 hours later)
Ulipristal Acetate per Dose (mg)Ethinyl Estradiol
per Dose (µg)
per Dose (mg)c
Ulipristal acetate pills
ellaWatson1 white pillNoneb30
Progestin-only pills
Levonorgestrel TabletsPerrigo2 white pillsNoneb1.5
Next ChoiceWatson2 peach pillsNoneb1.5
Plan B One-StepTeva1 whilte pillNone1.5
Combined progestin and estrogen pills
AvianeTeva5 orange pills5 orange pills1000.50
CryselleTeva4 white pills4 white pills1200.60
EnpresseTeva4 orange pills4 orange pills1200.50
JolessaTeva4 pink pills4 pink pills1200.60
LessinaTeva5 pink pills5 pink pills1000.50
LevoraWatson4 white pills4 white pills1200.60
Lo/OvralAkrimax4 white pills4 white pills1200.60
LoSeasoniqueTeva5 orange pills5 orange pills1000.50
Low-OgestrelWatson4 white pills4 white pills1200.60
LuteraWatson5 white pills5 white pills1000.50
LybrelWyeth6 yellow pills6 yellow pills1200.54
NordetteTeva4 light-orange pills4 light-orange pills1200.60
OgestrelWatson2 white pills2 white pills1000.50
PortiaTeva4 pink pills4 pink pills1200.60
QuasenseWatson4 white pills4 white pills1200.60
SeasonaleTeva4 pink pills4 pink pills1200.60
SeasoniqueTeva4 light-blue-green pills4 light-blue-green pills1200.60
SronyxWatson5 white pills5 while pills1000.50
TrivoraWatson4 pink pills4 pink pills1200.50
[Source: Emergency Contraception Website]


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