Plan B, or levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive, is a pill that contains a female hormone used to prevent ovulation. It also changes the uterus lining to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and makes it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. Plan B is a backup medication used to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex or if birth control has failed, such as a condom breaking or if you have forgotten two birth control pills in a row.
Plan B should not be used as regular birth control and should not be taken if you are already pregnant. Do not use this medication if you are breast-feeding, as it may pass into the breast milk. It is not intended for any female younger than 17 years unless a doctor has prescribed it. Before taking Plan B, let your doctor know if you are allergic to any medications or if you have diabetes because it may affect your blood sugar.
Plan B should be taken as soon as possible after having unprotected sex, up to 72 hours (3 days) afterward. The second tablet must be taken 12 hours after the first dose. Take the drug directly as the label instructs or as your doctor prescribes. If you vomit within one hour of taking Plan B, contact your doctor immediately and do not take another dose. Have your doctor examine you three weeks after taking Plan B to ensure you are not pregnant and that no negative effects have occurred. If you are at least one week late for your period, you may be pregnant and you should have your doctor perform a test. Seek emergency medical treatment if you think you have overdosed. Overdose symptoms include nausea and vomiting.
Mild side effects include diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, breast pain or tenderness, headache, dizziness, or changes in your menstrual cycle. Because of the dizziness side effect, do not drive or operate machinery until you know how you will react to Plan B. Dizziness may be more severe if you consume alcohol while taking this medication. Seek immediate medical treatment if you have an allergic reaction. Allergic reaction symptoms include hives, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
Plan B does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so it is important to get tested after having unprotected sex. Using a condom is the only way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
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