How Long Do You Have To Take Plan B (And Why)?

Exact Answer: once (3 to 5 days after)

Plan B is a morning-after pill that helps reduce unwanted pregnancy by up to 80 percent. The pill can be taken up to 3 and even up to 5 days after having unprotected sex.

The basic composition of most morning-after pills is similar and almost the same when it comes to the chemicals involved. The many names available in the market are brand names for the same products which have almost the same efficacy.

How Long Do You Have To Take Plan B
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How Long Do You Have To Take Plan B?

Plan B has to be taken once. This pill can be taken anywhere between the 1st day to the 3rd day after unprotected sex. The pill can still be taken up to the 5th day, but its efficacy is not ideal. The main concern with most pills is that there are rumored side effects. This pill is simply a form of the morning after pill which indicates that it is emergency contraception or birth control pill.

It is important to note that the morning-after pill or the plan B pill does not work as a primary birth control method, which means that it is not to be taken daily or periodically like many other birth preventive measures. This pill is a one-time pill, indicating that it can be used once in a while, to avoid side effects or other reactions.

These pills are normally composed of levonorgestrel, a chemical-based hormonal medication that is used widely to make other birth control pills, including the Plan B medication. Medications made with this chemical are sold over the counter and don’t require prescriptions.

There is another chemical compound that is used in many birth control pills. It is ulipristal acetate. This compound makes many pills which require prescriptions and are not sold over the counter.

Type of ContraceptionTimes it has to be taken
Primary ContraceptionDaily/Periodically
Emergency Contraception( Plan B)Once(any time)

Why Do You Have To Take Plan B For That Long?

Plan B is a one-time-use tablet. It has to be taken once, or as indicated on the outer packaging. This tablet, being an emergency contraceptive, should not be used as a regular contraceptive method. In case you need a primary contraceptive, there are many chemical-based as well as hormonal-based options available. You should consult your medical practitioner, the nearest pharmacy, or a family planning center for better information as to which is the best option for you. It is advisable to read all the precautions mentioned on the cover to have a smooth experience.

While looking at the working method of the Plan B pill that is mainly composed of levonorgestrel in addition to estrogen. This pill does not end a pregnancy. It only delays or prevents ovulation. This pill should not be confused with the abortion pill, which ends an already implanted pregnancy. This involves a situation wherein the egg has already been implanted on the uterine wall.

While looking at Plan B, it is to be noted that the earlier it is taken, the more effective it can be. If taken the morning after, it can have up to a 90 percent effective rate. Although, it can be taken even up to 3 days after, with a lower effective rate.

Emergency contraceptive pills, like plan B or even others, can be taken anytime during the menstrual cycle.
There are a few factors that affect the working of the pill. This particularly includes the weight of the person. Many women facing obesity tend to see a reduced or no effect of the pill. It is best to consult a medical practitioner when in doubt.

There are a few side effects that one may face after taking the pill but are sure to disappear within a few days. These are minor symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headache, cramps, fatigue, etc. If any symptoms last for too long or are unbearable, it is important to bring them to the attention of a medical practitioner.

Conclusion

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive pill that is a one-time pill. It is not a primary contraceptive method. Emergency contraception is a successful choice for avoiding pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it isn’t as compelling as other strategies of contraception and isn’t prescribed for schedule utilization. Also, the morning-after pill can fail indeed with correct use, and it offers no assurance against sexually transmitted diseases.

References

  1. https://journals.lww.com/clinicalobgyn/fulltext/2007/12000/Emergency_Contraception__A_Clinical_Review.10.aspx
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010782409003837

Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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