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Emergency Contraception: Costs, How To Use


The price of EC can vary a lot depending on where you get it (pharmacy or health center) and which type you decide to use. 

How To Use

Non-hormonal IUD

This is the most effective EC there is. If you get the Paragard IUD inserted within five days after unprotected sex, it can lower the chance of pregnancy by 99.9%. You’ll need to make an appointment with a health care provider to have this procedure.

Levonorgestrel-based pills

Levonorgestrel-based EC pills are available off the shelf at pharmacies and grocery stores to anyone with no age restrictions. That means you should be able to buy Plan B One-Step or generic options like Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Levonorgestrel without having a prescription or showing your ID. All levonorgestrel-based EC pills work like birth control pills, but at a much higher dose and taken temporarily. Best used as soon as possible, though they can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex.

Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, and My Way consist of just one pill that’s to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. (The original Plan B consisted of two pills and is no longer being sold.)

The Yuzpe Regimen

Some everyday birth control pills can be used as EC. If you go that route, which is called the Yuzpe regimen, you’ve got to take the pills in two doses, 12 hours apart. And it only works with certain brands. 

Remember: Use EC as soon as possible after you’ve had unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the better—within 24-hours to three days is ideal. But EC will still reduce your risk of pregnancy for up to five days. (The instructions for Plan B and Next Choice say to take it within 72 hours after sex, but studies show that Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, and Levonorgestrel can be taken up to five days after sex.)

Want even more detail? Check out all the information on the Not-2-Late website.

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The Right Time Health Centers

Our partner health centers are focused on you. They provide access to all methods of birth control and free or low-cost birth control to those who need it.