Does Plan B Always Work ?

Plan B is a safe, effective emergency contraceptive pill a woman can take after having unsafe sex. It is not an abortion pill. It is not a method of birth control. What you really want to know is simple though. Does Plan B always work? The answer to that question is a little more complicated than it may seem at first but don’t worry, answering those complicated questions is what we’re here for.

Does Plan B Always Work: Proper Use

In order for Plan B to be effective it must be taken properly. If you fail to take Plan B properly, the chances of it working are reduced significantly. First and foremost, the window in which Plan B will be effective is fairly narrow. You must – absolutely must – take the first dose of Plan B within 72 hours of having unsafe sex. This is non-negotiable. If you’re at 73 hours, Plan B likely will not work. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get pregnant but it does mean if you don’t get pregnant, Plan B probably had nothing to do with it. Let’s remember, unprotected sex, broken condoms, missed pills and things like that aren’t always going to lead to pregnancy. Plan B is just a good idea if you don’t want to take that chance but again, you need to take it within those 72 hours for it to work as efficiently as possible.

Just as it is important to take the first dose of Plan B within 72 hours, it is also important to make sure you take the second dose as directed as well, in most cases, exactly 12 hours after the first dose was taken. If you need to, set an alarm on your phone. Try to plan when you’ll take your doses, making sure the second dose will not have to be taken in the middle of the night or when taking the pill will be inconvenient. The second dose needs to be taken on time. Failing to take it on time will mean the pill is not being taken properly and will therefore not work as well.

The sooner you take the first dose the better. If you’re able to get the pills within a few hours of having unsafe sex, take it as soon as possible, making sure to calculate when the second dose will need to be taken. Read any and all information that comes with the medication. If there are storage instructions, follow them. You need to make sure you take the pill exactly as it’s supposed to be taken or it just won’t be as effective as it could be and the treatment could fail. That’s obviously not something you want. Also remember there are some side effects associated with Plan B including headache, lightheadedness and nausea. Plan for those as well. If you do all this, you should have little trouble with Plan B.

Does Plan B Always Work: Failure Rates

When used properly and taken exactly as it’s supposed to be taken, Plan B has a fairly high success rate, thought to be as high as 89% effective. It’s important to note, however, that due to the moral implications of testing these medications on women, it can be difficult to determine just how effective any contraceptive (emergency or otherwise) actually is. Even so, the US FDA has stated that after careful investigation, they believe seven out of eight women who would’ve gotten pregnant as the result of unsafe sex will not get pregnant if they’ve taken Plan B as prescribed. It is important to remember though that the success rate is reduced dramatically as time passes. In other words, the studies showed that women who took their first dose within 24 hours of unsafe sex were far less likely to get pregnant than women who took their first dose closer to the end of the 72 hour window.

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