Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Emergency Contraception

Emergency Contraception can prevent an unplanned pregnancy when no contraception was used, when contraception failed or when contraception was used inappropriately.

Emergency Contraception can prevent an unplanned pregnancy in the following situations:

  • No contraception (e.g. condom) was used
  • Missed birth control pills, patch, or ring
  • Interference between birth control and other medications (e.g. antibiotics)
  • The condom slipped, broke, or leaked
  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse (sexual assault)

There are 3 options for emergency contraception.

Please read below to see which option may be appropriate for you.

1. Plan B

Plan B is a safe form of emergency contraception that only contains progestin. It is used to prevent pregnancy up to 72 hours (3 days) after a single act of unprotected intercourse, however, there is some evidence that it may be used up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected intercourse, but that it may not be as effective. It may not be effective for women who weigh more than 165 pounds. According to Health Canada Plan B is not effective if you are over 176 pounds. Plan B is not intended as a method of birth control; it is for emergency use only.

2. Ella

Ella is a type of emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) that is available only by prescription. The active ingredient of Ella is ulipristal acetate. It works by blocking the effects of the hormone progesterone. Ella is used to prevent pregnancy up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected intercourse. It may be less effective for women who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30kg/m2 or are 194 pounds or more. Ella is not intended as a method of birth control; it is for emergency use only.

3. Cooper IUD

The IUD is a long lasting method of birth control that is inserted into the uterus (womb). It is a T-shaped plastic frame that is surrounded by a thin copper wire. At the bottom of the IUD there is a string. A copper IUD can be used by individuals not wanting to become pregnant up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

Comparing Emergency Contraception Options

Type of Emergency Contraception Plan B Ella Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)
What is it? A progestin-only pill that can be taken up to 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected sex, and may have some effect up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. A pill that contains ulipristal acetate. It can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. A small T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a Health Care Provider. It can be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The IUD can be used as a birth control method afterwards and can stay in place for 3-10 years.
Effectiveness • 95% Effective if taken within 24 hours after sex
• 85% Effective if taken within   25-48 hours after sex
• 58% Effective if taken within   49-72 hours after sex
• 95% Effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after sex • 99% Effective if inserted within 5 days (120   hours) after sex
Weight Consideration Effectiveness is decreased if an individual is over 165 pounds (75 kg). Plan B is not effective for individuals weighing more than 176 pounds (80kg) Effectiveness is decreased in individuals who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30kg/m2 or are 194 pounds (88kg) or more No weight considerations. Highly effective regardless of weight.
How to get it and Cost • Plan B is available without a   prescription.
• It is sold at The Clinic at the   Middlesex-London Health Unit   for $10.00.
• It can also be bought over the counter at a Pharmacy for         $27.00-37.00
• Ella is only available for purchase with a         prescription from a       qualified health care     provider.
• It is sold at The Clinic at the Middlesex-           London Health Unit       with a prescription for     $25.00.
• It can also be bought   at a Pharmacy for           $39.00-$42.25
• A Copper IUD is only available for purchase       with a prescription from a qualified health care   provider. It must also be inserted by a qualified   health care provider.
• It is sold at The Clinic at the Middlesex-London Health Unit with a prescription for $40.00 - 50.00. Copper IUDs can be inserted at The     Clinic.
• It can also be bought at a Pharmacy for         various prices depending on brand.
 
Date of creation: October 5, 2016
Last modified on: August 14, 2017