Morning-After Pill & RU486

It's really important to understand what drugs you're putting in your body and the impact they may have on your health.  Making a fully informed, educated decision is your best protection.  Please call the Center at (845) 340-7355 or (845) 255-8242 for more confidential information.

Morning After Pill / Plan B® / Emergency Contraception

What is it?
The morning after pill is a large dose of oral contraceptive. Known as Plan B®, the pill is actually 2 tablets, one taken within 72 hours of intercourse and the second 12 hours later. It is NOT the same as RU-486.

How does it work?
According to the manufacturer, Plan B® is believed to work in one of 3 ways:

  • It may prevent or delay ovulation (release of egg from ovary).
  • It may affect the sperm and tube transport to prevent the egg from being fertilized.
  • It may alter the uterine lining which prevents the fertilized egg from implanting.

Plan B® is not effective once the process of implantation has begun. There is no way to know which way the drug is working in any one person. 

Important things to consider

  • Plan B®  is a relatively new drug and as a result, there has been little testing on its effects on the body.
  • The manufacturer states that "Plan B® isn't effective if you're already pregnant, and it won't terminate an existing pregnancy."  Is this accurate? 
  • The most common side effects in the Plan B® clinical trial were nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.
  • There is some evidence that the Morning-After Pill may put a woman at increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy occurring outside the uterus, a tubal pregnancy). If you have have any reason to suspect an ectopic, see your doctor immediately. 
  • The manufacturer warns that Plan B® is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive.

Source:
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 August 2006. BR-038 / 21000382503  http://www.go2planb.com/pdf/PlanBPI.pdf   (Accessed March 2, 2009)

RU486 / Abortion Pill / Medical Abortion

What is it?
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.”

How does it work?
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.

Sources:
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Issue Update: Mifepristone: An Early Abortion Option,” July 2001.  http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&PageID=13809
(Accessed March 2, 2009) Mifeprex® Medication Guide, Danco Laboratories, LLC, revised 7/19/05  http://www.earlyoptionpill.com/userfiles/file/MedicationGuide071905.pdf
(Accessed March 2, 2009)

 We do not provide or refer for abortions.

If our Center is closed and you need help right away or to find a pregnancy center near you, go to PregnancyDecisionLine.org or call 1- 877-395-HELP