Nov. 16, 2006 – The most effective emergency birth control pill Plan B is now available for women who are over the age of 18 years. Prior it was not found without a health prescription but now it has been made available over the counter.
Plan B contains a high dose of hormones as found in general birth control pills and is helpful in preventing pregnancy once it has been taken within 72 hours of having an unprotected sexual intercourse. “It’s important they take it as soon as possible because within 24 hours, it’s more than 90 percent effective. After that it’s 72 hours, its only 74 percent effective,” according to sources.
Plan B is designed as emergency contraception that serves as a backup method for preventing pregnancy. For example, if a condom breaks, a woman forgets to take two or more birth control pills in a month, or is sexually assaulted; Plan B may prevent a pregnancy. It is not the same as RU-486, the so-called abortion pill, which terminates a pregnancy. Plan B, which works by delivering a large dose of the hormone levonorgestrel, will not affect an existing pregnancy. Instead, it prevents the release of an egg from an ovary, stops the fertilization of an egg, or keeps it from attaching to the uterus.
It should not be confused with an abortion pill because it prevents pregnancy and has no lasting effects. “Even if by accident the woman took it while she was pregnant there is not evidence of any risk to the developing fetus,” according to Dr. Schelles.
So now onwards, women above the age of 18 can request the morning after pill from the pharmacist alongwith an identification to prove how old they are. It is however available to minors only with a prescription.
According to sources, Plan B has the same side effects as those found in other birth control pills and should not be used in routine or regular contraception as it is meant only for emergencies. However, the new availability of Plan B is expected to cut in half the 3 million unplanned pregnancies that happen ever happen in the country.
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