wikiHow to Take Plan B One–Step

Three Parts:Taking Plan B One-StepUnderstanding When You Need Plan B One-StepObtaining Plan B One-Step

Plan B One Step is a high-dose hormone pill designed to prevent pregnancy when other methods have failed. It is an over-the-counter medication available for purchase by women and men. You should not take Plan B One-Step as regular birth control but rather as an emergency contraceptive only.

Part 1
Taking Plan B One-Step

  1. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 1
    Take the pill. Take one Plan B pill as soon as you possibly can after having unprotected sex. You can take it right after having unprotected sex, if you need to do so. You don't need to wait until the next morning.[1]
    • The pill will be most effective within 24 hours but still relatively effective for up to 3 days. However, you can still take for up to 5 days after having sex, but it is not as effective.[2]
  2. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 2
    Take the Plan B One-Step with food and water. This medication should not be taken on an empty stomach. Take it with food and water for it to be most effective.[3]
  3. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 3
    Take it again if you throw up. If you vomit within 2 hours of taking the pill, the dose may not be effective. Therefore, you can take another dose of the pill to ensure effectiveness.[4]
    • It's a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking a second dose.[5]
  4. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 4
    Understand what other drugs affect it. While it has not been studied much, it is theorized that certain drugs will make Plan B Step-One less effective. Certain anti-seizure drugs are in this category, including Dilantin, Felbatol, Mesantoin, Peganone, Phenobarbital, and Tegretol. Another drug that can mess with its effectiveness is Rifampin, a drug for tuberculosis.[6]
    • Talk to your doctor if you are on one of these drugs and need to use emergency contraceptive.
    • Though antibiotics can affect your regular birth control, it has not been shown to affect Plan B One-Step.[7]
  5. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 5
    Be aware of the side effects. The Plan B One-Step pill can cause side effects for a couple of days. You may notice some stomach issues, such as abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting. Your breasts may also be sore. Additionally, you may get headaches or dizziness, or you may feel extra tired. These symptoms are relatively normal and will subside. If they don't, talk to your doctor.[8]
  6. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 6
    Watch for your period. Plan B can make your period late. Usually, it will only be a week or so. Nonetheless, Plan B can cause other problems, such as spotting. If you spot for a week after taking the pill, talk to your doctor.[9]
    • Similarly, if you have abnormal cramps or pain a month or so after taking the pill, you should also talk to your doctor.[10]
    • These symptoms are problematic because they could be a sign that you miscarried a pregnancy. On the other hand, they can indicate an ectopic pregnancy, where an egg implants but not in the uterus.[11]
  7. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 7
    Tell your doctor. The next time you see your doctor (any doctor), tell him or her that you took the pill. Your doctor needs to know just in case that explains any symptoms you may be having.[12]
    • Also, talk to your doctor if your period is more than three weeks late after taking the pill.[13] Plan B One-Step is not 100% effective all of the time, so it is still possible to get pregnant after taking it.

Part 2
Understanding When You Need Plan B One-Step

  1. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 8
    Protect yourself with another form of birth control. Do not use Plan B One-Step as a substitute for other forms of birth control. If you are sexually active, then you should consider using birth control and condoms. Using birth control alone will not offer any protection against STDs, which can have lifelong consequences such as infertility and even death. However, wearing a condom every time you have sex can help to reduce your risk of getting an STD.[14]
    • Talk to your doctor or visit a free clinic to discuss your safe sex and birth control options.
  2. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 9
    Know what circumstances to take it under. The primary situation in which you would take the pill is when you have had vaginal sex without other protection against getting pregnant. "Unprotected" sex can mean a variety of things, including when other types of birth control fail or you miss doses of other types of contraceptive pills.[15]
  3. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 10
    Take the pill when condoms fail. If you notice your condom has broken while having sex, that's a good reason to take an emergency contraceptive. Also, if you notice spillage near the vaginal area, that's another good reason to take Plan B One-Step.[16]
  4. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 11
    Use Plan B One-Step when you miss progesterone-only pills. Another reason to take Plan B is because you missed birth control pills within certain time frames. For instance, if you are taking progesterone-only pills, you must be on time with those pills. If you are more than three hours off, you may not be protected and will need to take a Plan B pill.[17]
  5. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 12
    Take Plan B One-Step when you miss doses of other birth controls. Also, if you miss a single dose in the first week of your 21 or 28 pill pack or three or more doses in week two or three, you may not be protected. With the patch, you are unprotected if you've had it off more than a day in the first three weeks, and with Nuvaring, you're unprotected if you've had it out for more than three hours in the first three weeks. Also, antibiotics can affect the effectiveness of your pills.[18]

Part 3
Obtaining Plan B One-Step

  1. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 13
    Take a deep breath. Many others have been in your situation, and it is not the end of the world.[19] You can find Plan B One-Step, and more than likely, it will take care of the problem for you.
  2. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 14
    Find Plan B One-Step within three days. For Plan B One-Step to be the most effective, you need to find and take it within 72 hours of having sex. In fact, the sooner you take it, the better, which is why it is sometimes referred to as "the morning-after pill." Taking it within 24 hours is best.[20]
    • You can buy it to keep on hand. The pill can be fairly expensive ($50 or more), and it will have an expiration date.[21] However, you can get generic pills that work the same for slightly cheaper. For instance, you can buy a generic version, After Pill, online for about $20.[22]
    • If you are a college student, sometimes your student health center will have Plan B One-Step for cheaper.[23]
  3. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 15
    Go to a pharmacy. The easiest way to get Plan B is to go to a pharmacy. You don't need to visit your doctor first, as you don't need a prescription to buy Plan B. It is available over the counter.[24]
    • In the past, you need a prescription if you were 16 and under to buy the Plan B One-Step Pill. However, now anyone can buy the pill who needs it, and you don't even need to show ID.[25]
    • You may need to ask a pharmacist to obtain the pill.
    • If you're embarrassed, try going to a pharmacy that's not near you. Visit one on the other side of town, or try going at a time when there won't be as many people around. Additionally, try talking to a pharmacist or cashier who's the same sex as you, if that will help you feel less embarrassed.
  4. Image titled Take Plan B One–Step Step 16
    Find it at a health clinic. If you don't have quick access to a pharmacy, you can also visit a health clinic. Places like Planned Parenthood carry this contraceptive as well.[26]


  • If you purchase a two-pill emergency contraceptive medication, take both of the pills at once. Medical guidelines now suggest that you don’t need to wait 12 hours to take the second pill.[27]
  • Remember to use condoms and another form of birth control. Plan B will not protect you against STDs and it should not be your main form of birth control. It should only be used in emergency situations.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (24)

Article Info

Categories: Taking Pills and Medicine