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Plan B One-Step, also known as the morning-after pill, is an oral medication. It is most likely to be effective within 72 hours of having sex without birth control, but it may not work for everyone and it will not end an already established pregnancy.

This article discusses Plan B One-Step, including effectiveness, potential side effects, and more.

A quick look at the best places to get Plan B

Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) is a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, over-the-counter (OTC) emergency contraceptive.

For best results, a person should take it as soon as possible after having sex without using a condom or other form of barrier birth control or if contraception has failed.

How it works

According to the FDA, Plan B can work in two ways:

  • stopping the ovary from releasing an egg
  • preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus

As Plan B stops the ovaries from releasing an egg, the sperm has nothing to fertilize, and pregnancy will not occur. If sperm fertilizes an egg, Plan B One-Step prevents the fertilized implanting in the uterus, making pregnancy impossible.

However, if a fertilized egg implants in the uterus before a person takes Plan B, the medication will not work. Anyone who thinks they might be pregnant should speak with a doctor.

Learn more about when to take a pregnancy test.

Plan B One-Step is most effective when taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after having sex without using barrier contraception or contraception failure.

Plan B may be less effective in people near ovulation or with a higher body mass index (BMI). However, people with a higher BMI can still use Plan B.

Plan B is an oral tablet. A person should follow all instructions on the product and consult a healthcare professional if they have any questions.

Research states that individuals take one tablet within 72 hours after having sex without a barrier method. Some people may vomit within 2 hours of taking a dose. If they do, a doctor can advise whether it is best to take another pill.

A person should inform a doctor if they have had unexplained vaginal bleeding before taking the Plan B pill.

People should see a doctor to check that the pill has worked if they do not get their period as expected.

Plan B or other levonorgestrel pills are unsuitable as regular birth control. According to the manufacturer, Plan B is safe to take while breastfeeding and typically does not affect breast milk supply. However, anyone breastfeeding or chestfeeding should consider seeking medical advice before taking any of these drugs.

Emergency contraceptive pills work only after one episode of sex without a barrier method. Individuals engaging in regular sexual activity without any barrier methods who do not wish to become pregnant should consider a form of regular birth control.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products or services. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

According to the reproductive health advocacy group Planned Parenthood, Plan B and other levonorgestrel morning-after pills are available without a prescription for people of any age.

They can purchase it from an online provider or schedule collection at their local pharmacy.

Below, we look into the platforms and companies that offer Plan B One-Step.

Best for generic Plan B: Nurx

  • Price: $14.99
  • Generic or branded: generic

Nurx is a company that stocks birth control medications and treatments for skin conditions, STIs, and herpes, among others.

The New Day pill, Plan B’s generic version, is available for $14.99 on the Nurx website.

Free ground shipping is available, and a person can opt for an expedited delivery for an additional $15.

Overnight shipping will arrive the next day if people order before 2 p.m. Monday to Friday. Orders people place after 2 p.m. from Friday to Sunday will arrive the following week.

The company recommends that people request a prescription for Ella if they need the emergency contraception pill as soon as possible, as it comes with overnight shipping.

Pros

  • affordable
  • free shipping available
  • overnight shipping available for Ella

Cons

  • expedited shipping costs $15
  • some people may prefer to buy branded Plan B

Best for larger orders: CVS Pharmacy

  • Price: $49.99
  • Generic or branded: branded

CVS Pharmacy sells branded Plan B for $49.99. People can buy multiple packs at one time. This could be useful for people who want to have packs of Plan B ready if they need it.

However, people should check the medication’s expiry date before they use it if they plan to store Plan B for the future.

It offers free shipping for CarePass members and those who spend $35 or more.

People can use FSA and HSA payments at CVS Pharmacy.

Pros

  • option to buy multiple packs
  • accepts HSA and FSA payments
  • people can pick up their order at the pharmacy or at drive-thrus
  • shipping is free for CarePass members

Cons

  • more expensive than other sellers
  • shipping can take up to 4 days

Best for quick pick-up: Rite Aid

  • Price: $49.99
  • Generic or branded: branded

Rite Aid pharmacy also sells branded Plan B. It allows customers to pay through FSA and HSA.

It is the same price as CVS Pharmacy, but shipping may be quicker.

People can pick up their order for free within 1 hour. Shipping takes 2–3 business days and is free for orders over $34.99.

Pros

  • shipping may be quicker than CVS Pharmacy
  • free pick up within 1 hour
  • FSA and HSA eligible

Cons

  • same price as CVS Pharmacy
  • still may not ship quickly enough

Best for those without health insurance: Planned Parenthood

  • Price: up to $40
  • Generic or branded: branded

Individuals can obtain Plan B from a Planned Parenthood health center, and they can choose to attend their appointment in person or online. A smartphone app is also available for Apple and Android users.

People don’t always have to book an appointment and do not need to show ID. There are also no age requirements.

The company says people who are ineligible for health insurance may be able to get Plan B for free or at a low cost.

Pros

  • can offer Plan B cheaply for those without insurance
  • offers a range of emergency contraception
  • no age restrictions or ID required

Cons

  • an appointment is sometimes necessary
  • people without a Planned Parenthood clinic nearby and limited internet access cannot use this service easily
  • may not be free or low cost for everyone

Best for FSA payments: Walgreens

  • Price: $49.99
  • Generic or branded: branded

A person can buy Plan B One-Step from Walgreens and choose between collection and delivery.

Standard shipping takes 2–4 days, but people may be able to get same-day pick-up. This makes orders available at a Walgreens store within 1 hour.

Shipping is also free for orders over $35.

The website accepts FSA payments.

Pros

  • some people may prefer the branded version
  • offers same-day pick-up

Cons

  • only accepts FSA payments
  • people must pick up their orders in person for same-day delivery
  • not any cheaper than most alternatives

Best for same-day delivery: Target

  • Price: $46.99
  • Generic or branded: branded

Target stocks Plan B for $46.99 and accepts FSA and HSA payments.

People can get same-day delivery or pick-up within 2 hours. Same-day delivery costs $9.99 but is free with a Shipt membership.

Plan B is slightly cheaper at Target than many other sellers.

People can also benefit from a 90-day return guarantee.

Pros

  • 90-day returns
  • same-day shipping
  • slightly cheaper than alternatives
  • accepts HSA and FSA payments

Cons

  • does not offer generic Plan B
  • same-day shipping can cost around $10

Plan B One-Step can cause side effects for some people. According to the FDA, some reported side effects include:

The most common side effect of Plan B One-Step is heavier menstrual bleeding. Otherwise, the FDA generally regards the medication as safe. In addition, people who are breastfeeding or chestfeeding can use the medication without adverse effects.

Plan B interactions with other medications

A person considering Plan B should talk with a doctor if they take other medications. The following medications reduce the effectiveness of Plan B:

A person should keep a record of nonprescription and prescription drugs they use, as well as herbal products. They should share this record with a doctor and pharmacist.

Learn more about drug interactions here.

Plan B suggests that the sooner a person takes Plan B after sex without barrier contraception, the better it will work.

However, a person should not use Plan B as their primary form of birth control.

An individual has several birth control options. Reversible birth control options include:

In some cases, a person may want a more permanent solution. A person with female reproductive organs can have a tubal ligation, in which a doctor removes or blocks the fallopian tubes.

A person with male reproductive organs can have a vasectomy, in which a doctor blocks or removes the tubes that transport sperm. Though often referred to as permanent procedures, doctors can reverse a vasectomy in most cases.

Below, we compare each of the pharmacies or companies selling Plan B.

Branded or generic?HSA or FSA accepted?Shipping timePrice
NurxgenericHSA and FSA• overnight shipping

• otherwise, 1–3 days
$14.99
CVS PharmacybrandedHSA and FSA• 1–4 days

• 1–2 days with CarePass
$49.99
Rite AidbrandedHSA and FSA• 2–3 business days

• 1-hour pick-up
$49.99
Planned ParenthoodbrandedFSAdepends on locationup to $40
WalgreensbrandedFSA• 2–4 days

• 1-hour pick-up
$49.99
TargetbrandedHSA and FSA• 2-hour pick-up

• same-day delivery for $9.99
$46.99

A person may use a different form of emergency contraceptive if they prefer. Some generic versions that are as effective as Plan B when people take them within 72 hours of sex without a barrier method include:

  • My Way: According to the manufacturer, a person should take My Way as soon as possible after engaging in sexual activity without any barrier methods. It is much more affordable than branded Plan B and contains the same active ingredient, levonorgestrel.
  • Next Choice One-Dose: This is available without a prescription and requires people to take it within 72 hours of sex without a barrier method. It can be more expensive than Plan B but contains the same active ingredient.
  • Take Action: A person can take this within 72 hours after engaging in sex without a barrier method to reduce the chance of pregnancy. People can buy it from Target, CVS Pharmacy, and more popular retailers and pharmacies. It costs around $35 and contains the same dose of active ingredients as Plan B.

Learn more about the Take Action emergency contraception pill.

A person may also wish to take Ella, the branded version of ulipristal acetate. It can reduce a person’s chance of getting pregnant by 85% if they take it within 5 days after having sex without using a barrier method. It is available with a prescription.

Learn more about the morning-after pill here.

People should not use the Plan B One-Step as a regular birth control pill. They should discuss with a doctor if they want to learn more about regular birth control.

Planned Parenthood also recommends that individuals ask a doctor to determine if Plan B is safe for them. This is because levonorgestrel morning-after pills may not work if a person takes other medications, including some HIV drugs and antiseizure medications.

The following are some common questions about Plan B One-Step.

How long do I have to take Plan B?

Plan B is a single-dose tablet. A person can take the tablet up to 72 hours after sex without a barrier method, but sooner is better.

Ideally, a person would take Plan B as soon as possible after having sex without using barrier contraception or having concerns that their contraception failed.

How much does Plan B cost?

Prices can vary for Plan B. A person can purchase Plan B One-Step for around $30–50 online, or it may be cheaper with a prescription. Some sexual health advocacy groups offer branded or generic Plan B at very affordable prices for people without insurance.

However, it may be best to purchase the medication at a local pharmacy due to its time-limited effectiveness.

Does health insurance cover Plan B?

Plan B One-Step is an OTC medication. This means that most insurance companies will not cover the cost. A person may be able to use their HSA, FSA, or other medical savings to purchase the medication.

How do I know if Plan B did not work?

A person may be pregnant if their period is more than a week late or they have not had it within 3 weeks of taking Plan B. People should speak with a doctor and take a pregnancy test.

What does Plan B do to your body?

Plan B stops the body from releasing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This can delay or stop an egg from being released during ovulation. It can also increase the thickness of the cervical lining, which makes it harder for sperm to move and travel to fertilize an egg.

How soon should you take Plan B?

A person should take Plan B as soon as possible after having sex without barrier contraception. It can work up to 72 hours after sex, but it is more effective the sooner a person takes it.

What is the success rate of Plan B?

Patient information for Plan B states that 7 out of 8 people who would have become pregnant without Plan B will not become pregnant. A person should check with a doctor after taking Plan B to ensure they are not pregnant, especially if their next period is late.

Can you still get pregnant on Plan B?

It is possible to become pregnant after taking Plan B. The manufacturer states seven out of every eight people who could have gotten pregnant will not become pregnant after taking Plan B.

However, the drug may be less effective in people who wait too long to take it and in those with higher BMI, although this does not mean it is completely ineffective.

People should take Plan B as soon as possible after having sex without barrier contraception.

Plan B One-Step is a single-dose emergency contraceptive. A person should not use it in place of regular birth control methods. The medication is most effective when taken within the first 72 hours after a person has sex without contraception or if there is a risk the contraception has failed.

Plan B does not protect against STIs or other conditions and will not end an already established pregnancy.