8 Questions for Your Doctor About Emergency Contraception

Your doctor or pharmacist can help you get answers about emergency contraception. You may want to ask them:

1. Which type is best for me?

There are lots of good options. 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.

2. 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.

3. Will any supplements or medications I take affect how well emergy contraception works?

Some meds and supplements -- like the epilepsy drug Dilantin, antibiotics such as 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.

4. Could any health problems make emergency contraception unsafe for me?

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

5. Could my weight affect how well it works?

The pills may not work as well for women who weigh over 165 pounds. It may be awkward to discuss, but ask 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.

6. 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're protected.

7. 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.

8. 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 costs.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on October 10, 2017



American Society for Emergency Contraception: "The Cost of Emergency Contraception: Results from a Nationwide Survey."

Anne Elizabeth Burke, MD, associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics, director of family planning, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Kelly Cleland, MPA, MPH, researcher, Office of Population Research, Princeton University.

FDA: "FDA approves Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive for use without a prescription for all women of child-bearing potential."

Alexandra Gold, MD, fellow in family planning, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

HealthyChildren.org: "Emergency Contraception."

Office of Population Research at Princeton University: The Emergency Contraception Web Site: "Effectiveness," "Safety."

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