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Emergency contraception is available to prevent pregnancy:
Emergency contraception, also called the “morning after pill,” uses the levonorgestrel progestin hormone found in some birth control pills to prevent either fertilization or the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining. The morning after pill is not the same thing as the "abortion pill."
In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved the Plan B brand as the first over-the-counter emergency contraception. It is available without a prescription at pharmacies and health clinics for adults 18 and older, with proof of age. Anyone younger than age 18 needs a prescription from her doctor. Plan B is taken in one or two doses within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
Side effects of Plan B may include:
Immediate side effects typically subside within 1 - 2 days of taking the second dose. Family planning experts warn that emergency pill use should not be treated as a substitute for regular contraception.
Copper-Releasing Intrauterine Device. An alternative emergency contraception relies on insertion of a copper-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected intercourse. It can be removed after the woman's next period, or left in place to provide ongoing contraception. The copper IUD reduces the risk of pregnancy by 99.9%.
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