What Is Plan B & What Is Ella?
Emergency Contraception Guide
Before we answer, "What is Plan B?", it's worth mentioning that choosing a safe and effective Birth Control Option should be at the top of your list if you're looking to take charge of your reproductive health. But, accidents happen. Thankfully, there are options if you have unprotected sex or miss a few days of oral birth control.
Let's take a deeper look at Emergency Contraception:
- How does Plan B work?
- How effective is Plan B?
- How much is Plan B?
- Where can I get Plan B?
- How long can I wait to take Plan B?
- What are Plan B side effects?
- How effective is Plan B if overweight?
- How does Ella work?
- How effective is Ella?
- Where can I get Ella?
- How long can I wait to take Ella?
- What are Ella side effects?
- What is the difference between Plan B and Ella?
How Does Plan B Work?
Plan B is a pill taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and is used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The active ingredient in Plan B is a hormone called levonorgestrel. There are several brand-name Levonorgestrel pills, similar to Plan B, that are all effectively the same. Other Levonorgestrel pills include:
- Next Choice
- Take Action
- My Way
The main thing to understand about how Plan B works is that emergency contraceptives prevent pregnancy before it begins---they do not terminate an existing pregnancy. Plan B is not the same thing as an abortion pill.
How Effective Is Plan B?
Plan B works by preventing the fertilization of a released egg. Many combination birth control options work the same way---Plan B just works at a much higher dose.
In addition, Plan B is not prophylactic and therefore does not protect against STIs, nor does it take the place of daily hormonal birth control. A daily hormonal birth control pill is still statistically more effective at preventing pregnancy than routinely using Plan B.
How Much Is Plan B?
With wisp, the cost of Plan B (levonorgestrel) is $17. However, when you shop over the counter---depending on the label---levonorgestrel pills can range from $20-65. Remember to do your research and compare brands online or ask a pharmacist for more options.
Looking to buy emergency contraception online? Two popular options you are likely to find when searching, "how to buy the morning-after pill," are Plan B and Ella. Unlike Ella, you can buy Plan B ahead of time to keep it on hand before you need it.
Ella may be taken up to 5 days following contraceptive failure, but requires a prescription and is intended only for individuals currently experiencing risk of unwanted pregnancy. Order your online prescription for Ella same-day, for $22 with wisp.
Where Can I Get Plan B?
Plan B is FDA approved and sold over the counter in the United States. This means you should be able to walk into a drugstore and purchase Plan B over the counter. That said, whether you will find Plan B at your local drugstore depends on where you live and what the inventory of the pharmacy is at that time.
In certain states, you may have a hard time buying Plan B over the counter. If you are traveling away from home, or live in a county that is less likely to carry the morning-after pill, you can order Plan B online and have it delivered directly (and discreetly) to your door.
How Long Can I Wait To Take Plan B?
In order to be effective, Plan B must be taken within three days (72 hours) of unprotected sex. If your current circumstance prevents you from obtaining Plan B over the counter, it may be a good idea to purchase Plan B ahead of time. Many of us never plan on having unprotected sex, but millions of humans face the morning-after-reality each year. Being prepared is never a bad thing.
What Are Plan B Side Effects?
Every medication has side effects that vary based on user sensitivity. Plan B is no exception. Common Plan B side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular bleeding
- Breast tenderness
How Effective Is Plan B If Overweight?
In recent studies, Plan B (levonorgestrel) was shown to be less effective in people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Due to factors like one's height, it should be noted that BMI and weight are not the same things. However, Plan B is generally considered less effective in individuals over 155 lbs.
While Plan B for overweight individuals may pose a problem if you feel you are at risk for an unplanned pregnancy, prescription Ulipristal (ella) does not have a BMI limit and is shown to be effective in individuals up to 195 lbs. Taking Ella if overweight is not only more effective at preventing pregnancy, it may be taken up to 5 days following contraceptive failure.
How Does Ella Work?
Ella (ulipristal) is a prescription emergency contraceptive taken by individuals looking to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Ella works by delaying or stopping the ovary from releasing an egg. A single pill is taken orally within 5 days of contraceptive failure, i.e. broken condom, having sex without a condom, or in the absence of another effective birth control method.
How Effective Is Ella?
If you recently experienced contraceptive failure, you might be wondering, "how effective is Ella, the morning-after pill? Well, taking Ella within 5 days of unprotected sex reduces your chance of pregnancy by 85 percent. But, keep in mind that the sooner you take Ella, the better.
Ella is considered the most effective morning-after pill you can get. That's because Plan B must be taken within 3 days of contraceptive failure and is not as effective at preventing pregnancy in individuals with a BMI over 30 or weighing more than 195 lbs.
Where Can I Get Ella?
Unlike Plan B, Ella is only available with a prescription from a doctor. Once the doctor provides a prescription, Ella may be picked up at a local pharmacy provided the state you are in fulfills this prescription. Unfortunately, many regional states DO NOT fill the prescription even after a doctor writes the script.
Due to infighting among policymakers, the rules and regulations that govern emergency contraception (EC) have changed frequently and vary by state. In June 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved unrestricted sales of Plan B, making it available over-the-counter. In most states, individuals can purchase Plan B at the drugstore without a prescription.
With wisp, you can get a same-day prescription for Ella online, without setting foot in a doctor's office. However, we are not able to ship Ella to your home, so you will still need to find a pharmacy that fills this prescription. Alternatively, wisp can ship Plan B directly to your home in all 50 states. Due to the time it takes to ship your order, ordering Plan B online after contraceptive failure means your meds will not arrive within the 3 day window required for the drug to be most effective.
How Long Can I Wait To Take Ella?
Ella is the true "morning-after pill" and should be taken as soon as possible to be most effective. However, unlike Plan B which must be taken within 3 days of contraceptive failure, Ella may be taken up to 5 days following contraceptive failure. Be sure to read all of the instructions that come with the prescription for more information.
What Are Ella Side Effects?
Taking Ella to prevent an unplanned pregnancy is considered very safe. The following side effects are rare and should subside relatively quickly:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- Feeling tired
- Menstrual pain
What Is The Difference Between Plan B and Ella?
- Requires a prescription
- Will be equally effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex
- Less effective for people over 195 lbs or who have a BMI over 35
- Not recommended if currently taking hormonal birth control pills or breastfeeding
- Sold over the counter
- The longer you wait, the less effective it will be (recommended within 72 hours of unprotected sex)
- Less effective for people over 165 pounds or who have a BMI over 25
Getting a prescription for ella online is the fastest way to get your meds. If you have to schedule an in-person appointment, you may be better off trying to buy Plan B over the counter at a pharmacy.
And while it's unfortunate both pills have weight limitations which impact their effectiveness, it just means that they may be less effective outside those parameters. If weight or BMI is a consideration, Ella is considered a more effective choice.
It is important to note that if the egg has already been fertilized, neither Plan B nor ella are effective. This is why it is important to take the morning-after pill as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.