Plan B ingredients

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Question

What's the difference between emergency contraceptives, such as Plan B One-Step and regular birth control pills?

Answer

Plan B One-Step® emergency contraceptive pills contain the hormone levonorgestrel - a common ingredient in some birth control pills. However, the dosage of this hormone in Plan B One-Step® is higher than in a single birth control pill. In addition, the hormone estrogen - another common birth control pill ingredient - is not in Plan B One-Step®.

Plan B One-Step® is intended as a backup contraceptive for instances when regular contraception methods fail (such as when a condom tears, or two or more birth control pills are missed in a month) or in cases of unprotected sex. It is not meant to be used as a routine method of birth control.

The ingredients in birth control pills and Plan B One-Step® are not right for everyone. You should discuss using Plan B One-Step® with your healthcare provider in advance of possibly needing it to determine if it is an appropriate option for you. This is true whether you are under age 17 (women in this age group need a prescription) or age 17 or older (women in this age group do not need a prescription but must show proof of their age at the pharmacy counter).

Learn more about safe sex and birth control in the Health Encyclopedia.

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