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What we now about Plan B

Brand Name(s): Plan B

Generic Name Levonorgestrel Emergency Contraception

What is levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive kit?

LEVONORGESTREL (Plan B) products are effective as emergency oral contraceptives (emergency birth control pills). This product can prevent ovulation and pregnancy after unprotected sex. Levonorgestrel will not work if you are already pregnant; it will not 'abort' a pregnancy that has already started. After consultation with a health care professional, this kit can be used for emergency contraception within the 72 hours after unprotected sex. A generic levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive kit is not yet available.

What should my health care professional know before I use levonorgestrel for emergency contraception?

They need to know if you have or ever had any of these conditions:

  • blood sugar problems, like diabetes
  • cancer of the breast, cervix, ovary, uterus, vagina, or unusual vaginal bleeding that has not been evaluated by a health care professional
  • fibroids
  • liver disease
  • menstrual problems
  • migraine headaches
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to levonorgestrel, progestins, other hormones, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

  • For emergency prevention of pregnancy:

Take levonorgestrel pills by mouth. You will need to follow the instructions provided by your health care provider exactly. Take the first dose as soon as you can after having unprotected sex, preferably in the first 24 hours, but no later than 72 hours (3 days) after the event. You MUST take the second dose 12 hours after you take the first dose. Do not take any extra pills. Extra pills will not decrease your risk of pregnancy, but may increase your risk of side effects.

If you have been prescribed the Plan-B contraceptive kit, there will be a booklet provided with your prescription that explains how to use the kit properly. You will need to read this booklet. Your prescriber may want you to use a quick-response pregnancy test prior to using the Plan-B kit.

Emergency birth control prescriptions are not to be used as a regular means of preventing pregnancy. You should discuss birth control options with your health care provider to prevent future risk of pregnancy. Get started as soon as you can with a method of birth control you will be able to use every time you have sex. You should make a follow-up appointment to see your health care provider in 3—4 weeks after taking your emergency birth control prescription.

  • For all uses of this medicine:

Before starting this medication, read the paper on your prescription provided by your pharmacist. This paper will tell you about the specific product you are taking. Make certain you understand the instructions.

Contact your pediatrician or health care professional regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of an emergency contraceptive prescription, or vomit the dose within an hour of taking it, you MUST contact your health care professional for instructions.

What drug(s) may interact with levonorgestrel in this emergency contraceptive kit?

The following medications could potentially make the Plan-B kit less effective at preventing pregnancy:

  • antibiotics or medicines for infections
  • aprepitant, a medicine used for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting
  • barbiturate medicines for producing sleep or treating seizures (convulsions), like phenobarbital
  • bosentan
  • carbamazepine
  • griseofulvin
  • modafinil
  • oxcarbazepine
  • phenytoin
  • rifabutin
  • rifampin
  • rifapentine
  • ritonavir
  • St. John's wort
  • topiramate
  • troglitazone or pioglitazone
  • warfarin

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking levonorgestrel in the emergency contraceptive kit?

Severe side effects are relatively rare in women who are healthy and do not smoke while they are taking levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives. On average, more women have problems due to complications from getting pregnant than have problems with oral contraceptives. However, the potential for severe side effects may exist and you may want to discuss these with your health care provider.

The following are common side effects with the Plan-B emergency contraceptive kit:

If you are taking this medicine for emergency prevention of pregnancy, it is common to have nausea, headache, abdominal pain or cramping, breast tenderness and dizziness. You may vomit. If you throw-up within 1 hour of taking your dose, you will need to contact your health care professional for instructions. If any of the other side effects are severe or continue, contact your health care professional. After you finish your prescription, it is common for you to have changes in your next period, or to have spotting. If you do not get a period within 21 days of taking your prescription, you should see your health care professional and get a pregnancy test.

What should I watch for while taking levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive kit?

Visit your prescriber or health care provider for regular checks on your progress. You should have a complete check-up every 6 to 12 months. If you have any unusual vaginal bleeding contact your doctor or health care provider for advice. If you miss a period, the possibility of pregnancy must be considered. See your prescriber or health care professional as soon as you can.

Tobacco smoking may increase the risk of getting a blood clot or having a stroke while you are taking oral contraceptives, especially if you are more than 35 years old. You are strongly advised not to smoke.

Taking contraceptive pills does not protect you against HIV infection (AIDS) or any other sexually transmitted diseases.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F). Keep container tightly closed. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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