Plan B One-Step (also known as the morning after pill) was approved by the FDA in July 2009. Plan B One-Step is just one oral pill (levonorgestrel tablet, 1.5 mg) and has replaced the old Plan B. It is an emergency contraception method that can be used to help prevent an unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Because Plan B One-Step is most effective the sooner you take it, knowing where to buy Plan B One-Step is very important.
There are three available generic alternatives to Plan B One-Step:
You can buy Next Choice One Dose,My Way, and Take Action the same way that you can buy Plan B One-Step.
The decision whether or not you need to buy Plan B One-Step should be based, mainly, on how long it has been since you had unprotected sex or experienced birth control failure. You should buy Plan B One-Step if it has been less than 3 days (72 hours) since your incident if contraceptive failure/unprotected sex. Plan B One-Step, Take Action, My Way, and Next Choice One Dose are most effective if used within 24 hours and should be taken within 72 hours -- though research suggests that these emergency contraceptives may still be effective up to 5 days/120 hours. You can also use them same way.
Where Do I Buy Plan B One-Step?
There are no longer any point of sale restrictions on Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Take Action or My Way. This means that you should be able to buy Plan B One-Step and its generic alternatives at your local drugstore. Store owners have some discretion as to where they can shelve Plan B One-Step. It should be located in the family planning isle of the store. But, to deter people from stealing it, stores may also choose to keep their inventory of Plan B One-Step behind the pharmacy counter, at the check-out counter or place the package in a big plastic box. Some stores will have a spot for it on the shelves, but instead of having the actual box, there will be a picture of the product, the price, and directions to where you can locate it in the store (i.e., at the pharmacy or at the check-out counter).
Do I Need ID to Buy Plan B One-Step?
Unlike in the past, proof of age/ID is no longer required to buy Plan B One-Step, Take Action, My Way or Next Choice One Dose. You can now buy these emergency contraceptives regardless to how old you are.
How Do I Buy Plan B One-Step?
You can buy Plan B One-Step and any of the generic versions just like you would buy most products in the store. If it is located on the shelf, simply take it to the cashier, pay, and you're finished! If it is on the shelf, but is contained inside a clear, plastic box, you will need to take the box to the cashier, who will unlock the box and take out the package of Plan B One-Step after you have paid for it. If there is a sign directing you to the check-out counter or pharmacy, you will need to go to that part of the store and ask to buy Plan B One-Step. The store employee/pharmacist will then provide you with the product. Even if Plan B One-Step, Take Action, My Way and/or Next Choice One Dose is located behind the pharmacy shelf, remember that you do not need a prescription to buy it, and you don't have to prove your age -- you just need to ask for it.
Tips to Consider if You Buy Plan B One-Step
Keep in mind just because a store has a family planning aisle that carries OTC contraceptives (like condoms, the sponge, VCF, etc.), home pregnancy tests, and personal lubricants (like Wet Gellee or Astroglide), doesn't mean that it also has to sell Plan B One-Step. Also, stores that do sell this emergency contraceptive may only have a small inventory (limited quantities).
Because you want to use it as soon as possible, it is probably a good idea to call your local drugstore ahead of time to determine if they have Plan B One-Step, My Way, Take Action and/or Next Choice One Dose in stock. That way, you don't waste precious time driving from one store to another looking for it. When you call the store, you should also ask where they keep this product. Pharmacies typically close before the stores do, so if the particular store has Plan B One-Step behind the pharmacy, you may not be able to buy it if you come in once the pharmacy has closed.
Is it Better to Buy Plan B One-Step?
Plan B One-Step is only the branded emergency contraceptive product. My Way, Take Action and Next Choice One Dose work the same way as Plan B One-Step. All of these products consist of one 1.5 mg levonorgestrel pill. Typically, the price for the generic alternatives are only around 10-20% cheaper than Plan B One-Step. That being said, you should be aware that one box of any of these emergency contraceptives will probably end up costing somewhere between $26 and $65 (with the average price for Plan B One-Step being $48 and for My Way/Next Choice One Dose/Take Action, $41).
Finally, remember that the over-the-counter status (with no age restrictions) only applies to Plan B One-Step and its one-pill generic alternatives. This means that if you wish to obtain Next Choice (2 pill, generic to Plan B), you must be at least 17 years of age and provide valid ID to prove your age to your local pharmacist. If you are under 17, you will need a prescription.