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A lot of you asked us:
Is it true that Plan B isn’t effective for women who weigh 176 pounds, and it becomes less effective at 165? What other emergency contraception options are there?
We’re working to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need in order to decide what’s best for them when it comes to emergency contraception. Let’s break down the facts:
What’s emergency contraception (EC)?
Emergency contraception (also called the morning-after pill) is birth control that you can use up to 5 days after unprotected sex (like if you don’t use a condom or forget to take your pills, for example).
There are a few different kinds of emergency contraception:
- The ParaGard IUD can be inserted as emergency contraception.
- There are two different types of EC pills:
- Ulipristal acetate, known by the brand name ella
- You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella
- Levonorgestrel pills, including the brands Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Plan B One-Step
- Plan B One-Step is available at drugstores over the counter, without a prescription for anyone, regardless of gender or age.
- The sooner levonorgestrel pills are taken after unprotected sex, the better they work.
Why is Plan B One-Step in the news?
It was recently announced that in Europe, a method of emergency contraception which is identical to Plan B One-Step pills is now going to include information on the label stating that these pills are less effective in people over 165 pounds and may not be effective in people over 175 pounds. This label change was based on analysis of a 2011 study.
I weigh more than 175 pounds. What are my options for EC?
The most effective option for people of any weight is getting a ParaGard IUD inserted by a nurse or doctor. If you’d rather take a pill, you can take ella. Weight can also be a factor for ella effectiveness: If you have a body mass index (BMI) that’s higher than 35, it’s less effective (but still worth a shot if you can’t get an IUD). Click here to learn more about ella.
If the IUD or ella aren’t options for you and you weigh more than 175 pounds, it’s perfectly safe to take Plan B One-Step or Next Choice One Dose—but it may not work for you.
How do I get ella?
You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella. You can also consult with a doctor through the ella website and get it delivered to you the next day. (You need to have a credit card and be 18 to order it online.)
When it comes to weight and effectiveness of emergency contraception, more study is needed but, until then, if you weigh more than 165 and need EC, ella and the ParaGard IUD are your best bet. If you need EC and have questions about which EC method is best for you, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center.
-Chelsea at Planned Parenthood
There’s nothing scarier than finishing an intense session only to look down and realize that something was left behind by your partner. Where did the condom go? Unfortunately what that means is that the condom is still having a bit of fun although you and your partner are done. Even worse: It now has a few (hundred million) friends to join the party.
But just because the condom breaks or doesn’t make it to your next bedroom bash doesn’t mean all hope it lost. Here are 7 things you should do instead of panicking.
1. See the doctor.
Maybe you’ve discovered the condom broke and you’re too freaked out to figure out where it went. First, rest assured that it’s impossible for it to be floating around between your spleen and your liver. If you don’t feel comfortable enough to “explore,” see a doctor who can go where your hand may not dare to—otherwise you could risk an infection.
2. Double up if you’ve skipped pills.
Here’s what to do if you realize you missed a pill (or two, or three…). Depending how long it’s been, you may want to use a backup method.
3. Opt for Plan B.
Emergency contraception (a.k.a. Plan B) is now available without a prescription and can work up to five days after unprotected sex—though the sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
4. Cope with copper.
ParaGard is a copper IUD that can be inserted by a doctor up to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy after the fact. It increases cervical mucus and repels sperm.
5. Get tested.
If you’re sexually active you should be getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every six months. It’s especially important when having multiple partners so that if you get an STI, you can narrow down who may have infected you or been infected by you. Keep in mind that you can’t get accurate results for some STIs until at least six months after unprotected sex, so get tested regularly.
6. Think about what went wrong.
Was the condom expired? Did you put it on backwards? Not enough lubrication? All of these are common culprits that contribute to condom failure. Think about how you can better prepare so you can avoid future scary situations.
7. Plan for next time.
If you need a better birth control, Bedsider can help break down your options. Emergency contraception can even be bought beforehand to be kept on stand-by for emergency situations.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting educator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She is regularly featured on MadameNoire.com and blogs about everything from beauty to breakfast cereal to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.
“Generic versions of emergency contraception can be sold without a prescription or age restrictions while the federal government appeals a judge’s ruling allowing the sales, an appeals court said Wednesday.”
via the Washington Post
Someone asked us:
Does the approval for sale of Plan B to girls 15 and older include approval for the sale of the generic for Plan B? Sometimes Plan B can be costly, and the generic is much more affordable. I realize it’s the same drug so it should also be approved, but I wanted to check since it wasn’t mentioned at all in the article.
That’s a good question, and one a lot of people have been wondering about.
In case you missed it, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently decided that Plan B One-Step, one brand of emergency contraception, could be sold over the counter to anyone 15 or older. That means in the near future, you will be able to find Plan B in the “family planning aisle” of drug stores, and purchase it with proof of age. This is a change from where it’s been – behind the counter at the pharmacy.
This new policy only applies to the Plan B One-Step brand. The reason behind that is basically because the manufacturer of Plan B applied for a change with the FDA, and the FDA accepted this company’s application. Right now, we don’t know exactly when Plan B will be available over the counter. It will probably take a few months for the company that makes Plan B to make new packaging and get it out on shelves. You can ask your local drugstore and check back with us for updates.
Your local Planned Parenthood health center may carry brands other than Plan B, and/or may be able to charge less for emergency contraception. Your local drugstore may also carry alternative brands, like Next Choice. If you know you’ll want this brand of EC, and you’re under 17 (the current age requirement for purchasing any EC over the counter), it might be a good idea to get a prescription or the pill itself ahead of time, before you need it. That way you have it when you need it, or can get it quickly in case of an emergency.
You can read more about emergency contraception and how to get it on our website.
- Alex at Planned Parenthood
Seriously, if we believe a 14 year old is too immature to know how to take a pill, do we really think she’s adult enough to handle an unwanted pregnancy?
The truth is that the age restriction is completely arbitrary, tied only to our puritanical comfort levels. And listen, I get it; I think it’s fair to say that most people are uncomfortable with the idea of a 14 year old having sex. But here’s the thing - access to Plan B isn’t about keeping a 14 year old from having sex - by the time she gets to the pharmacy, that ship has sailed - it’s about keeping a 14 year old who has already had sex from getting pregnant. And despite what urban legend (or past embarrassing FDA memos) may tell you, making emergency contraception more available is not more likely to make young teens have sex - it will just make them less likely to end up pregnant.
We can’t let our discomfort with teen sex trump young people’s right to sexual and reproductive health and we can’t continue to let politics trump science. If we care about young women’s health and bodily autonomy and integrity, we’ll drop all age restrictions from emergency contraception. Anything less isn’t just illogical - it’s immoral."
There’s a medicine that, in half a century of use, has been linked to a grand total of zero deaths or serious complications. It’s safer than aspirin. Physicians willingly admit that their advice is not needed for it to be taken correctly. The largest organization of pediatricians in the nation is urging its members to pre-write prescriptions for patients who may need it, because it’s so safe they believe everyone should have access without visiting a doctor.
This medicine is often desperately needed. It must be taken within a specific 120 hour period in order to be effective. It prevents a condition that can be devastating to the people it affects, especially young people, who are more likely to develop depression, drop out of school, and even die. Furthermore, if young people can’t get this medicine when they need it, they are more likely to spend their lives in poverty, never marry, and have their kids end up in jail.
So why has the supposedly progressive Obama administration repeatedly spoken out against making this medicine available over-the-counter to young people, even after a federal judge ruled that girls under seventeen must be given access to this medicine? Why would the president go against all scientific evidence and say that the medicine “could be dangerous if misused”?
Because the medicine is emergency contraception, the medical condition it treats is pregnancy, and Americans are terrified of teenage girls being in control of their own sexuality."
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