October 18, 2018

Plan B Side Effects

Plan B is an emergency contraception made up of progestin. This chemical has been used in standard birth control pills for more than 25 years. The pill is generally tolerated well by most women and has only a few common side effects. Available over-the-counter to women over the age of 18, Plan B is also available for women under the age of 18 by prescription. Normally, women who take Plan B will still have their menstrual period at the normal time or within seven days.

Women who take Plan B should always follow up with a pregnancy test around the time of their menstrual period. In rare cases, Plan B may not stop a pregnancy. In general, it must be taken within 72 hours of intercourse to be effective.

plan b side effectsPlan B Side Effects

The majority of women can take Plan B without any side effects. Like every medication, patients should consult with their doctor before taking Plan B if they are any other prescription drugs.

In select cases, Plan B use may result in nausea, vomiting or upset stomachs. Patients may experience dizziness, headaches or fatigue. Some individuals may also experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches or breast tenderness. Since Plan B temporarily effects the woman’s menstrual cycle, patients may experience menstrual changes. No plan is 100 percent effective, so women have a late period or a period that is much lighter than normal should always take a pregnancy test.

To prevent some of the symptoms, patients should take Plan B on a full stomach. By eating before taking the pill, patients can reduce the incidence of upset stomachs, nausea or vomiting. Women should also expect their period to be different than normal. There might be spotting before their period occurs or it may be heavier than normal.

How it Works

Taking Plan B interferes with the way the menstrual cycle normally functions. The chemical progestin interferes with ovulation by delaying it or stopping ovulation completely. Scientists believe that progestin can also stop the egg from being fertilized when it is taken in high doses. Unlike RU-486, Plan B is not a so-called “abortion pill”. The chemicals in Plan B stop implantation and fertilization before it takes place. If the patient is already pregnant, it will not work.

For maximum effectiveness, Plan B should be taken as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. If it is taken within 24 hours, Plan B is 95 percent effectiveness. Women who wait too long will see the effectiveness of the drug decrease to 89 percent. The drug has to be taken within 72 hours for it to be effective at all. Women can find Plan B in their doctor’s offices or at a pharmacy. The normal version of Plan B is taken in two doses. Once the first dose is taken, the patient should take another pill 12 hours later. Recently, the FDA approved a new version of Plan B that is known as Plan B One-Step. With Plan B One-Step, patients only have to take one dose of the drug as soon as possible.

When to Use Plan B

Plan B should never be used as a primary birth control method. It is called Plan B because it is intended to be a backup plan. Women should take Plan B if a condom broker during sex or if no protection was used. If the woman forgets two birth control pills in a row, they should also resort to Plan B as a backup plan. Individuals who are on birth control will also need to use a secondary method until after their next period. Since Plan B contains many of the same chemicals that are in normal birth control pills, it can interfere with the effectiveness of birth control for the remainder of the menstrual cycle.

Patients should always consult with their doctor before taking Plan B. Although the FDA and other websites have useful information about the drug, there are no substitutes for a doctor’s medical expertise. Individuals who experience any symptoms they believe are caused by Plan B should always consult with a qualified medical practitioner.