Emergency contraception balanced with colorful abstract shapes on a light blue and pink background

What is the Difference
Between Plan B and Ella?

By Lizzie De La Cruz
May 11, 2022

Unless you are trying to become pregnant, having unprotected sex isn’t the best plan, but we’re all human and accidents happen. Condoms break, pills get missed, and the next thing you know you’re at risk for unintended pregnancy. In these situations, having access to emergency contraception like the Plan B pill or Ella is key.

Let’s look at the differences between these two emergency contraceptives: Plan B pills (levonorgestrel) and Ella (ulipristal).

Both pills have the same purpose. They are meant to be used as emergency contraceptives after having unprotected, or unplanned sex. This should never be the main form of birth control, but an emergency contraceptive can be there if your primary method fails.

Remember that neither of these pills can stop an existing pregnancy. They are both known informally as “morning-after pills” and they are not abortion pills.

Get Emergency Contraception Online

Plan B emergency contraception in foil packet to prevent pregnancy on a red surface, on a pink background

Levonorgestrel (Generic PLAN B®)

Take Levonorgestrel as soon as possible but within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. Levonorgestrel (Generic PLAN B®) is delivery only - order ahead of time!

Starting at $12.50

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Ella emergency contraception in foil packet to prevent pregnancy on a red surface, on a pink background

Ella® Emergency Contraception

Take Ella as soon as possible, but within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. Ella is pick-up only - order after contraceptive failure!


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Lutera ® Birth Control (generic)

Similar to: Afirmelle, Amethyst, Aubra, Aubra EQ, Aviane, Balcoltra, Camrese Lo, Chateal, Delyla, Falmina, Larissia, Lessina, Orsythia, Sronyx and Vienva.

Starting at $15.00

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Packet of Ocella birth control pills on a pink background

Ocella® Birth Control (generic)

Similar to: Yasmin, Zumandimine, Zarah, Syeda

Starting at $15.00

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Difference #1: Where the pills are available

The first and most significant difference is the ease of access. Plan B pills are offered over-the-counter and are sold at drug stores, pharmacies, or grocery stores. Anyone, of any age, can access the Plan B pills if they are sold at their pharmacy. Most drugstores offer Plan B for $50, but you can get it through Wisp for just $18! Ella is available only through prescription. It’s effective for a longer period after sex and is recommended for people who are over 155 lbs (more on that later).

Difference #2 - Timing and safe amount of use

Plan B Pills are more easily accessible because they work only if taken within three days, or 72 hours of unprotected sex. They can also be taken as many times as needed during the menstrual cycle. Of course, relying regularly on Plan B is not a good idea. Ella pills contain a medication of 30 mg of ulipristal and will be effective if taken within five days of unprotected sex. Take the Ella pill one time only during your cycle, as soon as possible after you receive the pill.

Plan B Pills and Ella both work by preventing or delaying ovulation. This means that there is no egg available to be fertilized. Ella, however, also may thin the lining of the uterus and this is the reason why it is effective for five days afterward instead of three. Even if the egg is fertilized the thinner lining makes it harder to implant and begin a pregnancy.

Difference #3 - Plan B Pills have a weight limit

Plan B pills are most effective for patients under 155 pounds. Ella may be a better choice for those over 155lbs. If Plan B is the only emergency contraceptive you have access to and you are over 155lbs, it can still be effective and it’s certainly better than skipping emergency contraception altogether. If possible, ask a healthcare provider about your specific situation and follow their guidance.

Even though Plan B pills and Ella pills should be easily accessible, there may be concerns about purchasing them, and having them when needed. That is where Wisp can help. We’ll connect you with a medical provider online to prescribe what you need and answer any questions you have. You can also purchase Plan B before you need it so you have it in your medicine cabinet for life’s emergencies.

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