Emergency contraceptives (EC) are a birth control method that is available to minimize unintended pregnancies that might result from unprotected intercourse. Several products are on the market and largely contain levonorgestrel as the active component, including Plan B One-Step®, Next Choice®, Next Choice One Dose™ and My Way®. These are labeled as effective up to 72 hours after intercourse and are available without a prescription. Another product, Ella™, contains ulipristal acetate and can be effective up to 120 hours after intercourse, but does require a prescription. Legislative issues have surrounded these products. At this point in time only Plan B One-Step® is available to anyone of any gender or age without a prescription. Ulipristal acetate has been shown to be more efficacious in reducing pregnancies than the levonorgestrel most likely due to its effects later in the ovulatory cycle. All of these products have similar side effects and none of them will terminate an existing pregnancy. Cost issues may influence an individual's choice to use these products. A pharmacist can aid in counseling on the appropriate selection of a product, timing of administration and methods for preventive birth control for the future.
Tokar T, Muhlenkamp R, Lindsley K, Steinbrunner A, Musser M. Emergency Contraception: A Comparison of Levonorgestrel and Ulipristal Acetate. PAW Review. 2014 Feb 01; 5(1):Article 4 23-27 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol5/iss1/4. Free full text article.