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Emergency Contraception Questions for Your Doctor

If you're thinking about using emergency contraception, ask your doctor or pharmacist these questions.

Which type is best for me?

There are lots of good types of emergency contraception. But the best one for you depends on different things. Your age, for instance -- some nonprescription products have age limits. Your insurance may pay only for a prescription. When you had sex can matter, too. Some products work for about 3 days after, some for 5. Your doctor or pharmacist can steer you in the right direction.

What’s the least-expensive option?

Prices can vary. They depend on the type of pill, the store, and other things. Find out what your choices are and compare the prices.

Is the IUD an option?

Many women don't know it's available, but the implantable copper-T IUD works well as emergency contraception. Ask your doctor if an IUD might be a good choice for you, especially if you already wanted long-term birth control.

Will emergency contraception interact with any supplements or medications I take?

Some medications and supplements -- like the epilepsy drug Dilatin, antibiotics like rifampicin or griseofulvin, and St. John's wort -- can stop emergency contraception pills from working normally. To be safe, tell your doctor or pharmacist about other drugs and supplements you take.

Could any health problems make emergency contraception unsafe for me?

Emergency contraception pills and the IUD are safe for almost all women. But if you have health problems and you're concerned that taking emergency contraception could be risky, talk to a doctor or pharmacist. 

Could my weight affect how well it works?

The pills may not work as well for women who are overweight or obese. It may be awkward to discuss, but talk to a pharmacist or doctor. If you're overweight, Ella may work better than Plan B One-Step and generic levonorgestrel. In general, the IUD seems to work better than pills for heavier women.

When should I go back to regular birth control?

You should use a regular form of birth control right away. Emergency contraception lasts only for about 24 hours and may just delay ovulation, not stop it. Make sure you are protected.

If I'm already pregnant, would this drug be harmful?

Some types of emergency contraception may not be safe if you're already pregnant. Most pills won’t harm your pregnancy. But you should not take Ella if you think you might be pregnant. It’s not safe.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on July 31, 2013

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