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Next Choice - Generic Plan B

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Updated September 17, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Next Choice - Generic Plan B

Next Choice - Generic Plan B

Photo © 2010 Dawn Stacey
Definition: Next Choice is emergency contraception and is the generic Plan B. It was FDA approved as a prescription on 6/24/09 and as an OTC on 8/28/09.

Next Choice consists of two 0.75mg levonorgestrel pills.

  • To avoid confusion, it may be helpful to note that, in addition to Next Choice, the emergency contraceptive, Next Choice One Dose is also available -- this is the single pill, generic version of Plan B One-Step.
According to the manufacturer of generic Plan B, to reduce the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, Next Choice should be started up to 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected sex or contraception failure -- with the first pill being taken as soon as possible and the second pill taken 12 hours later. If you vomit within 1 hour of taking either Next Choice pill, call your doctor to see if a repeat dose is needed. The sooner generic Plan B is used, the better the chances of preventing pregnancy.

Note: In general though, emergency contraception could be started up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex, so Next Choice may still be useful to take (hopefully to decrease your chances of pregnancy) for up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

The dose of the levonorgestrel in the generic Plan B is higher than in a single birth control pill, but it prevents a pregnancy some of the same ways that birth control pills do. It is thought that Next Choice prevents the egg from being:

  • Released from the ovary (ovulation)
  • Fertilized by the sperm
There is some confusion about whether or not generic Plan B prevents a fertilized egg from implanting. Research shows that this emergency contraceptive has no impact on implantation.This morning-after pill will not terminate an existing pregnancy.

Generic Plan B can be obtained OTC at local pharmacies for those 17 or older. Females under the age of 17 will need a prescription for this morning-after pill from their doctor. It is sold behind the counter at pharmacies, so that age can be verified. Generic Plan B is currently priced around 10-20% lower than the branded Plan B One-Step.

As a precaution, girls under 17 can ask their doctor about getting a prescription for generic Plan B ahead of time -- just in case an emergency occurs. This way, these girls can fill the prescription immediately and won't need to wait for a medical appointment.

Pronunciation: Generic [jə-ˈner-ik] Plan [ˈplan] B

Since Next Choice is the generic Plan B, see:

Also Known As: Plan B, Emergency Contraception, EC, Morning After Pill

The name morning after pill is confusing since Next Choice doesn't have to be used the morning after unprotected sex. There are also 2 pills, not just 1 - as the name morning after pill implies.

Examples:
I can use generic Plan B as emergency contraception because the condom broke when we were having sex last night.

Side Effects:

When used as directed, side effects of this morning-after pill could include:
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Menstrual changes (such as spotting or bleeding prior to a period)
Your next period could be heavier or lighter or earlier or later. If your period is more than a week late, you should get a pregnancy test and follow up with your doctor.

Keep in mind: Generic Plan B will not continue to prevent pregnancy during the rest of a woman’s cycle, so another contraceptive method should be used.

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