Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy. This is also called the morning-after pill. You can use it if you have unprotected sex or if you think your birth control method has failed. For example, it can be used after:
When you get your medicine, use it right away. You may use this method up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. The sooner you start the pills, the more likely they are to prevent pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, the pills won't harm the fetus.
Do not use emergency contraception pills as your only form of birth control. They do not work as well as an ongoing method. Talk to your doctor about a regular method of birth control that will work for you.
You can get emergency contraception without a prescription at most drugstores.
NOTE: This information focuses on using progestin-only pills that are packaged specially for use as emergency contraception. Regular birth control pills or a copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception. But they are not covered in this information.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: March 16, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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