Plan B: How it Works

Plan B is one of the most effective emergency contraceptives on the market. There’s a lot of information out there about Plan B, some of it factual and some of it not.

We made this guide to get you the best information about Plan B so you can make informed decisions about your health.


What is Plan B?

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Also called the morning-after pill, Plan B is an emergency contraceptive medication. It’s mostly used if normal birth control methods failed, like a broken condom or missed birth control pill. Plan B is a dose of progestin, making it similar to birth control pills.

It doesn’t include any other medication; it’s essentially just a high-concentration birth control pill. That doesn’t mean it should be used as a regular contraceptive; it’s emergency only.

How It Works

Just like birth control, Plan B works by preventing an egg from implanting in the wall of the uterus. It does this by either delaying or entirely stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. The pill needs to be taken within the first 72 hours after sex. It can sometimes work up to five days post-intercourse, but its effectiveness drops dramatically after the first 72 hours.

It’s important to understand that Plan B is not an abortion drug. Once the egg is implanted, Plan B won’t do anything to disrupt that cycle and can’t be used to end a pregnancy. It also doesn’t protect against HIV or other STDs.

Where To Buy

Plan B can be purchased at a variety of places. Many drug stores carry it, as well as local health clinics like Planned Parenthood. It isn’t a prescription drug and can be purchased by both men and women.

If you’re concerned about discretion, Plan B can be ordered online through telemedicine companies like Nurx. These websites allow you to order medications from the comfort of your home and can help you find the most affordable option.

For medications like Plan B, which are time sensitive, stocking up a few pills to have immediately on hand is a great way to take control of your sexual health and stay protected, even if your contraception fails.


Plan B is relatively low-cost, especially when compared to the cost of a pregnancy. Generic forms of Plan B typically go for around $40. Plan B cost goes up a little when going for the name brand at around $50 a dose.

Insurance companies will sometimes cover the cost of the generic with as little as $0 copay, while the name brand isn’t typically covered. Luckily, the generic version is the same drug, so you’ll have the same effective coverage but with less cost.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects from Plan B are rare, and many women use it successfully with no side effects at all. Some minor side effects you may experience include headache, nausea, cramping, tiredness, dizziness, or irregularities with your period such as lighter or heavier flow. If these symptoms continue, it’s important to consult with your provider.

Plan B has no effect on your ability to get pregnant later, making it a low-impact choice for emergency contraception. No matter your situation, Plan B is an effective and reliable emergency option.



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