Women's Health Tutorial

Plan BŪ -- Emergency Contraception Pills

If you have recently had unprotected intercourse and want to decrease your chances of getting pregnant, then you may want to consider emergency contraception pills (also known as "morning-after pills").
  • Emergency contraception pills alter a women's menstrual cycle. Although the exact mechanism is not known, it is thought that the pills prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, hindering fertilization, and altering the lining of the uterus.
  • The pills can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse. However, the sooner they are taken, the better your chances of preventing pregnancy.
  • The brand of emergency contraception pills that we carry at the Student Health and Wellness Center is called "Plan BŪ".
"Plan BŪ" consists of two pills, each containing 0.75 mg of levonorgestrel.

If you think emergency contraception pills are right for you, call (410) 516-8270 for an appointment today. After-hours, you may reach the "on-call physician" by calling Campus Security: (410) 516-7777. In the event that the university is closed, you may also obtain emergency contraception by calling Planned Parenthood: 1-877-994-6432.

How effective is Plan BŪ?
With the correct use of Plan BŪ, the risk of pregnancy is believed to be reduced approximately 89%. If used within the first 24 hours, Plan BŪ reportedly prevents 95% of pregnancies. If your period does not arrive within four weeks of taking Plan BŪ, a pregnancy test is advisable. You can get this done free of charge at the Student Health and Wellness Center.

How do I take the pills?
When Plan B was approved by the FDA, the recommendation was to take 1 pill immediately and 1 in 12 hours. New research shows that it is just as effective to take both pills at once without increasing the risks of side effects. It is your choice but we recommend taking both pills at once.

What are the side effects?
Plan BŪ is generally well tolerated, but the most common side effect is nausea. Other side effects include abdominal discomfort, fatigue, headache, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and breast tenderness. There may be an alteration in your periods, such as being heavier or lighter in flow or by arriving earlier or later than expected.

Are there any contraindications to taking emergency contraception pills?
Women who are pregnant should not take emergency contraception pills. The pills will be ineffective. (Current data indicate that emergency contraception pills taken inadvertently while pregnant cause no harm to the fetus.)

Emergency contraception pills are generally not recommended for individuals with
  • allergies to the ingredients of Plan BŪ
  • unexplained vaginal bleeding
How do I get emergency contraception?
Students at the Johns Hopkins University can get emergency contraception at the Health and Wellness Center. Simply call (410) 516-8270 and make an appointment. When the SHWC is open, you will almost always be seen the day you call but you may have to wait for several hours.

Emergency contraception can also be obtained through Planned Parenthood (1-877-99-GO-4-EC). This hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their staff can refer you to the closest Planned Parenthood location, and they can provide you with general information about emergency contraception. In addition, you can speak to a trained staff clinician about getting emergency contraception through an over-the-phone prescription that is picked up at a nearby pharmacy or at a Planned Parenthood clinic near you. (This service involves a consultation fee.)

Can I use it as regular birth control?
No! Emergency contraception pills are only intended for emergencies. They are not as effective as other forms of contraception, and they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Please speak with your health care provider if you are interested in more effective forms of birth control.

How much does it cost?
Prices vary depending upon where you obtain the emergency contraceptive pills. At the Student Health and Wellness Center, they cost $16*, and students with the Johns Hopkins University Health Insurance plan pay only $8*.

We accept cash, check or Visa/Mastercard. You may also bill your student account or use your Jcard.

*Prices subject to change.

**If you or your partner are not Hopkins students, we cannot legally prescribe you emergency contraception. We do, however, want to facilitate your access to those individuals or organizations that can. The most readily accessible source is Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Their toll-free hotline is 1-877-99-GO-4-EC. This hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The closest Planned Parenthood locations to the Homewood campus:

			610 N. Howard Street      			 
			Baltimore, MD 21201 			 
			(410) 576-1414 	
			1714 Joan Avenue (Loch Ridge Shopping Center)
			Baltimore, MD 21234
			(410) 665-9775

If you are unable to access the Planned Parenthood hotline or would like more information about emergency contraception, please visit:
Plan B

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