1 What is Plan B?
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive pill. Its main purpose is to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or failure of other birth control methods.
It prevents fertilization by inhibiting ovulation (release of a female egg from an ovary). This drug also makes cervical mucosa thick, which makes it impossible for sperms to reach the egg.
It is most effective only when taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex. It is available in the form of a tablet and only with your doctor’s prescription for women age 17 or above.
2 What to Know Before Using
If you are about to start Plan B, speak with your doctor about what you need to know.
Before starting, your doctor should be informed about following conditions:
Allergy: Tell your doctor if you have any
allergies to food, preservatives, dyes and animals or had any previous allergic reaction which occurred while using this drug before.
Children: This drug shows no harmful effects if used by a teenage girl.
Pregnancy: Levonorgestrel is category X drug. It is proven teratogenic drug. Make sure you are not pregnant before using it as it causes severe harmful effects on fetus development.
Breastfeeding: There are no adequate studies which prove that Levonorgestrel alters breast milk compositions. Consult your doctor before using it while breastfeeding.
Drug Interactions: Levonorgestrel interacts with many drugs. It should not be used with several drugs.
Your doctor should be informed of any other medicine which you are taking so that he may adjust the dosage or change the drug.
Some of these drugs are Antifungals, Warfarin, Valproic acid, Lamotrigine, Corticosteroid. One should avoid its use in several conditions.
Make sure you inform your doctor of conditions such as:
vaginal bleeding. You are taking nevirapine, rifampin, or St. John's wort.
You are or suspect that you are pregnant.
You have had a
stroke or history of bleeding of the brain, known or suspected breast cancer, or a blood clotting disorder.
3 Proper Usage
To use Plan B properly, you must follow all instructions given by your doctor. It is only for occasional use. Do not replace it with your regular birth control method.
An extra patient leaflet is available with Levonorgestrel. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
You should take your first dose orally within 72 hours of sex. Take the second tablet 12 hours after the first tablet. If vomiting occur after 2 hours of taking any tablet.
Call your doctor. Ask him whether to repeat a dose or not. It can be used at any time of menstrual cycle. Storage: Store at room temperature. Keep it out of reach of children.
4 Precautions to Take
In using Plan B, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor. Before using it, make sure that you are not pregnant. It will have a severe harmful effect on an unborn child.
Go to the doctor immediately if you experience severe
lower abdominal pain 3 to 5 weeks after using it. You may have an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).
It is a life-threatening condition, may cause difficulty in getting pregnant in future. Levonorgestrel does not protect against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
When you are using Levonorgestrel, your regular birth control may not work efficiently. Use 2 birth control methods e.g. patch with condoms. It is only recommended in the same monthly period in which you used Levonorgestrel.
It may affect blood sugar levels in the diabetic patient. Check blood sugar level closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Plan B. Some people may experience none or minor side effects.
Consult with your doctor if they become problematic or frequent:
Most common are:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.