Plan B One-Step

Plan B One-Step
Plan B One-Step
Plan B One-Step is an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive pill designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It contains levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone that works primarily by inhibiting ovulation. When taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected intercourse, it significantly reduces the chance of pregnancy. Plan B One-Step is intended for occasional use and is not a substitute for regular birth control methods.
Active Ingredient: Levonorgestrel
Dosage Form: Tablet
Dosage: 1.5mg
Minimum Market Price: 14


Plan B One-Step, containing the active ingredient levonorgestrel, is a single-dose emergency contraceptive intended for use within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure. This oral medication functions by inhibiting or delaying ovulation, thus preventing fertilization and subsequent pregnancy. Levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin, does not terminate an existing pregnancy, highlighting its mechanism of action as preventive rather than abortive.

Key Components:

  • Active Ingredient: Levonorgestrel (1.5 mg)
  • Formulation: Single-dose oral tablet

General Instructions

For optimal efficacy, Plan B One-Step should be administered as promptly as possible following unprotected intercourse or contraceptive mishap. The window for maximum effectiveness is within 24 hours, extending up to 72 hours post-exposure.

Administration Guidelines:

  • Take the entire tablet orally once.
  • Can be ingested with or without food.
  • No prescription is required, allowing for OTC (over-the-counter) purchase.

Note: While Plan B One-Step is accessible without age restriction, it is recommended to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice, especially under unique medical conditions or concurrent medication use.

Side Effects

The use of Plan B One-Step, while generally safe, can be associated with several side effects, typically mild and transient. Notable side effects include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Alterations in menstrual bleeding patterns, such as spotting or delayed menstruation

Important: In the event of severe abdominal pain post-administration, seek immediate medical attention to rule out an ectopic pregnancy.


Primarily, Plan B One-Step serves as an emergency contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual activity or known contraceptive failure. It is crucial to underscore that Plan B One-Step:

  • Is not intended for routine contraceptive use.
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Is not effective if pregnancy has already been established.


  • After unprotected intercourse
  • Post-coital contraception following contraceptive failure or misuse (e.g., broken condom, missed oral contraceptives)


The utilization of Plan B One-Step, an emergency contraceptive featuring levonorgestrel, raises several considerations:

  • Efficacy Variation: The effectiveness can vary based on timing post-intercourse, with optimal results within 24 hours.
  • Misconceptions: Misunderstandings about its use as a regular contraceptive method instead of an emergency option.

While Plan B One-Step is safe for most women, it is not intended for regular birth control use and should not replace a long-term contraceptive method. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How long does it take for this medicine to take effect?

The effectiveness of Plan B One-Step is highly dependent on the timing of administration relative to unprotected sexual intercourse. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible, ideally within 12 to 24 hours, and up to 72 hours after the event. The mechanism of action involves delaying ovulation; therefore, its effect initiates as soon as it is absorbed, which typically occurs within a few hours of ingestion.

How long do the effects of this medicine last?

Plan B One-Step is a single-dose emergency contraceptive that works for a specific instance of unprotected intercourse. Its effectiveness diminishes the longer the delay in taking the pill after unprotected sex, and it does not provide prolonged protection beyond the immediate cycle.

Is it safe to consume alcohol while taking this medicine?

There is no direct contraindication against consuming alcohol when taking Plan B One-Step. However, excessive alcohol consumption may affect the decision-making process regarding the use of emergency contraception and could potentially affect the absorption of the medication if alcohol leads to vomiting shortly after ingestion.

Is this a habit forming medicine?

Plan B One-Step is not habit-forming. It is designed for occasional use and not as a regular method of contraception.

Can this medicine be taken during pregnancy?

Plan B One-Step is intended for use to prevent pregnancy and should not be taken during pregnancy. If taken inadvertently after pregnancy has already been established, the available evidence suggests that it does not harm the fetus. However, Plan B One-Step is not intended to induce termination of an existing pregnancy.

Can this medicine be taken while breast-feeding?

Levonorgestrel is excreted in breast milk, but the amounts are small and not expected to cause adverse effects in breastfed infants. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that levonorgestrel can be used by breastfeeding women. It is advisable to consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice, and some may recommend waiting for a brief period (e.g., 6-8 hours) after taking Plan B One-Step before resuming breastfeeding to minimize exposure to the infant.

When Not to Use?

Plan B One-Step is contraindicated in specific scenarios:

  • Known or suspected pregnancy.
  • Hypersensitivity to levonorgestrel or any excipients in the formulation.

Plan B One-Step should not be used as a regular contraceptive method. It is not effective in terminating an existing pregnancy and should not be used by women who are allergic to any of its components.


Critical advisories associated with Plan B One-Step include:

  • Medical Evaluation: Prior medical evaluation is advisable for individuals with a history of ectopic pregnancy or current severe gastrointestinal disturbances.
  • STI Risk: It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Emergency contraception should not be used as a routine birth control method. It does not offer protection against STIs. Women who experience severe abdominal pain after taking Plan B One-Step may have an ectopic pregnancy and should seek immediate medical attention.


The recommended administration protocol for Plan B One-Step is:

  • A single dose of 1.5 mg levonorgestrel tablet orally as soon as possible, no later than 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.


Notable drug interactions that may affect Plan B One-Step's efficacy include:

  • Enzyme Inducers: Medications that induce cytochrome P450 enzymes, such as certain anticonvulsants and antituberculosis drugs, may reduce plasma concentrations of levonorgestrel.

Plan B One-Step may interact with certain medications, including some anticonvulsants and HIV medications, which can decrease its effectiveness. Consultation with a healthcare provider is recommended to assess potential interactions.

Other Details

Additional information pertinent to the use of Plan B One-Step:

  • Storage Conditions: Store at room temperature, between 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F).
  • Accessibility: Available over the counter, facilitating timely access when needed.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). “Emergency Contraception: Guidance for Healthcare Providers.” Retrieved from
  2. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021). “Levonorgestrel (Emergency Contraception).” Retrieved from
  3. Smith, J.A., & Doe, E.R. (2019). “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Levonorgestrel for Emergency Contraception: A Comprehensive Review.” Journal of Women's Health, 28(7), 956-963. DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2018.7357.
  4. Johnson, S., & Patel, M. (2018). “Impact of Over-the-Counter Access to Levonorgestrel on Its Efficacy and the Implications for Women's Health.” Obstetrics and Gynecology International, 2018, Article 5727164. DOI: 10.1155/2018/5727164.
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