Over the counter emergency contraceptive pills, such as Plan B (Morning after pill) and Ella, have gained a lot of attention and popularity over the past few years and are advertised as a safe, cost-effective method to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex or when your method of contraceptive fails (the condom breaks or you missed a pill). With so much information at our fingertips it can be hard to determine what is fact, fiction, or opinion.

First let’s review some basic drug facts about Plan B and Ella:

Plan B One-Step

This medication is most commonly referred to as the “morning after pill” but other marketed names you may see include, Aftera, Next Choice, Take Action, and My Way. The active ingredient is a hormone called Levonorgestrel. Plan B is available in generic forms and cost ranges from $25-$60.

According to the FDA “Plan B One-Step is available over the counter for women 17 years and older but requires a prescription for anyone under the age of 17. Plan B One-Step is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.”

Plan B works by stopping or delaying ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary) and helps prevent fertilization.  Directions for use from the manufacturer are to take one tablet orally as soon as possible within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex. It is more likely to work as expected if the tablet is taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Taking 2 doses for the same sexual encounter will not make it more effective.


Ella is a newer kind of ECP. One dose costs approximately $50. The active ingredient is Ulipristal. Ella is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive. Ella works by targeting and blocking the hormone receptors for progesterone and prevents ovulation for up to 5 days after having unprotected sex. The FDA instructs use within 5 days after having unprotected sex. It is thought to be just as effective on day 5 as day 1. Ella may only be taken once during menstrual cycle.

If you have questions about emergency contraception, the abortion pill, or other types of abortion we welcome you to contact our center for information and answers. We also offer free pregnancy testing and limited ultrasounds (to determine age and viability of pregnancy). You can contact us by phone or text 336-629-9988.