Plan B alternatives and where to get them
Plan B is possibly one of the most talked about forms of emergency contraception (EC). But it’s not the only type available.
Read on for more information on Plan B alternatives, including:
- how effective they are
- how much they cost
- where to get them
There are many other levonorgestrel pills available, including Aftera and Next Choice.
However, they all work the same way. Hence, only two of the most popular ones (Take Action and AfterPill) have been mentioned above.
Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.
It is most effective when used within a certain amount of time after sex –up to 5 days for some methods.
This is because sperm can live in the body for a few days, waiting for an egg to be released. Emergency contraception stops or delays ovulation.
But since so many factors can affect it, B. where you are on your menstrual cycle, it is not 100 percent effective.
Still, if you haven’t practiced safe sex or the protections you are using have failed, it is the best way to try to prevent pregnancy.
Typically, the term “unprotected sex” refers to sexual intercourse between the penis and vagina without a condom. But here we are using it to refer to sex that has taken place without an adequate barrier or contraception.
This includes any sex that happened with a broken condom, expired condom, or other condom mishap – or with someone who is using an expired contraceptive method or is not using contraception consistently.
Emergency contraception is intended for anyone who can become pregnant.
But you’d only use it if:
- You did not use protection such as a condom or use contraception during vaginal sex.
- You forgot to take or use your contraceptives and then had vaginal sex.
- The condom broke after ejaculation.
- One partner did not undress before ejaculating.
Because there are a number of emergency contraception methods out there, it can be difficult to find the right one for you.
There are three important things to keep in mind. First, find out how long has it been since you had unprotected sex.
For example, while morning-after pills work better the sooner you take them, some can work for up to 5 days afterwards.
Then think about what type of access you need. Some types are available over the counter, while others require a prescription or even a doctor’s appointment.
Some shapes are also more expensive than others.
Finally, you need to think about your body. Weight can affect the effectiveness of some types of emergency contraception.
And breast milk can be influenced by one type –a pill called ella.
- $ = under $ 25
- $$ = $ 25- $ 50
- $$$ = over $ 50
- Price: $$
- Professional: It is the most effective morning-after pill.
- Disadvantage: You need a prescription.
ella is not like Plan B because it does not contain levonorgestrel.
Instead, ulipristal acetate is used to stop the effects a hormone called progesterone. This in turn prevents or delays ovulation.
It can be taken with you up to 5 days after unprotected sex and is the most effective e-pill, which according to Planned Parenthood reduces the chance of pregnancy by 85 percent.
The main downside is that ella needs a prescription. You can get one online, but it will cost you more –usually around $ 90 including shipping.
But the health insurance company or Medicaid should cover the costs.
A couple of other things that you need to keep in mind are that ella it can not work even if you weigh 195 pounds or more.
And if you are breastfeeding, you need to express and get rid of all breast milk for 36 hours after taking the pill.
- Price: $$
- Professional: It is available without a prescription.
- Disadvantage: It’s not as effective as ella.
Take Action works just like Plan B.
That’s because it contains the same main ingredient –a synthetic version of progesterone called levonorgestrel that stops ovulation.
And the faster you take one, the better.
The best thing about EC pills like Take Action is that they are available over the counter and do not require a prescription. They should be found in most pharmacies and drug stores.
Also, because Take Action is a generic product, it’s cheaper than Plan B and typically costs around 20 percent less.
But it and other levonorgestrel pills also have a weight warning –If you weigh 155 pounds or more, or have a BMI of 30 or higher, it may be less effective.
- Price: $
- Professional: It is often the cheapest EC pill available.
- Disadvantage: It is only available online.
AfterPill is another levonorgestrel pill that works in the same way and is just as effective as Plan B.
But it is a little different from the others as it is much cheaper and only costs $ 20. Why? Because you can only Buy AfterPill online.
However, this has a disadvantage. Although this EC pill is available to anyone with internet access, you need to pre-order it so that it arrives on time.
Shipping cost $ 5 and takes 5 to 7 days.
As with all other levonorgestrel pills, you need to be aware that weighing 155 pounds or a BMI of 30 can make the pill less effective.
It is also worth noting that all EC pills can have side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
- Price: $$$
- Professional: It is the most effective form of emergency contraception.
- Disadvantage: You need to book a doctor’s appointment.
Paragard, also known as the copper coil, has the highest effectiveness any type of EC, according to Planned Parenthood.
And it is just as effective if you have it inserted on the 5th day after unprotected intercourse as it is on the 1st day. Your weight does not matter.
In addition, you can keep it for up to 10 years and use it as a regular form of contraception. This small plastic device contains copper, which makes it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
The device needs to be inserted by a doctor so you need to find and make an appointment within 5 days.
Side effects can range from cramps to bleeding in the first few days, weeks, or months.
It’s also quite expensive, but you can potentially get one for free or at a greatly discounted rate if you have insurance through Medicaid or another insurance provider.
- Price: $$
- Professional: Maybe you already have them at home.
- Disadvantage: It’s less effective than any other type.
Some birth control pills –the combined type – can be used as an EC. However, the dosage differs depending on the type of pill.
Therefore, it is important to speak to a doctor or other health professional before opting for this method.
Typically, you will need to take two doses 12 hours apart, with the first dose being taken within 5 days of unprotected sex.
It is worth noting that this method is not that effective like the others and may have more side effects according to research due to the high levels of estrogen.
Emergency contraceptives, other than Paragard, are not intended for regular contraception.
For starters, it’s not that effective and costs a lot more. Therefore, it is a good idea to think about longer-lasting protective measures, such as the pill, patch, or injection. Alternatively, condoms are a hormone-free option.
Plus, thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to get a prescription for birth control.
What can I do if I can’t afford Plan B?
Because of its brand, Plan B is the most expensive EG levonorgestrel pill.
But there are plenty of other levonorgestrel options –Usually the cheapest is AfterPill, which can be purchased online for $ 20 plus $ 5 shipping.
If you have Medicaid or other health insurance, you may be able to get several types of EC for free.
Where can I get emergency contraceptives?
You can buy Plan B and any generic levonorgestrel pill over the counter at drug stores and pharmacies. You’re usually in the family planning department. But some stores may have them behind the counter.
They are also available online.
However, Paragard and ella require a doctor’s appointment or prescription.
Do i need a prescription?
You don’t need a prescription for Plan B or any of its levonorgestrel alternatives.
The only prescription EC pill is ella.
Are there any age restrictions on purchasing Plan B?
They used to exist, but no longer.
Anyone can buy Plan B or its alternatives without showing ID.
Plan B isn’t the only EC that exists. There are other pills and even a long-lasting IUD that should be considered.
So weigh your options and decide what is best for you based on cost, accessibility, and effectiveness.
Lauren Sharkey is a UK-based journalist and writer specializing in women’s issues. When she’s not trying to banish migraines, she may find the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book about young women activists around the world and is currently building a community of such resistance fighters. Start them Twitter.