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Emergency Contraceptive:  Progestin (Morning After Pill/Plan B); Preven (combined hormones Progestin and Estrogen)

It is important to understand emergency contraceptives (the Morning After Pill/Plan B) and medication abortion (RU486 or The Abortion Pill), their impact on your health, and how they work before taking them.  To learn more, call for an appointment and one of our staff will be happy to meet with you and discuss all your options.

The most common regimen referred to as the "morning after pill" involves taking a large dose of oral contraceptive (hormonal) medication. Also, known as Plan B, this method involves actually taking 2 tablets; the first one taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, and the second 12 hours later. It is NOT the same as RU-486.

Plan B works principally by preventing ovulation or fertilization. It may also inhibit implantation. It does not work once the implantation process has begun.

Things to consider:

  • Emergency contraception is not effective if a woman is already pregnant.

  • Plan B does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

  • The most common side effects in the Plan B clinical trial were nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.

  • The manufacturer warns that Plan B is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive.


Manufacturer's Prescribing Information for Plan B (Levonorgestrel) tablets, 0.75 mg. Mfg. by Gedeon Richter, Ltd., Budapest, Hungary for Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Pomona, NY 10970. Revised Feb 2004. BR-038 / 21000382503

Medication Abortion - RU486 / Abortion Pill

RU-486, also known as "the abortion pill," is actually a combination of two drugs - mifepristone and misoprostol - that cause early abortion. It should not be used if it has been more than 7 weeks since your last period. It is NOT the same as the "morning after pill."

The first pill, mifepristone, is taken orally and blocks the hormone progesterone needed to maintain the pregnancy. The second pill, misoprostol, is inserted into the vagina 24 to 72 hours later, causing the uterus to contract and expel the placenta and embryo.

Things to Consider 

  • An RU-486 abortion requires 3 visits to a health care provider.

  • Most medical abortions using mifepristone are completed within 2 weeks, but some can take up to 3 or even 4 weeks.

  • Side effects include heavy bleeding, headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping.

  • If this method fails, a surgical abortion will be required.


Kaiser Family Foundation, "Issue Update: Mifepristone: An Early Abortion Option," July 2001. Mifeprex® Medication Guide, Danco Laboratories, LLC, revised 7/19/05

Heritage Pregnancy and Family Health Center, Inc. offers confidential and accurate pregnancy options education; however, we are not a licensed medical clinic and do not offer or refer for abortion, provide birth control, or medical services at this time.

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