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Morning-After Pill & ella® Information

Plan B One-Step®

ella®


Need to know about Plan B One-Step®?

What is Plan B One-Step?
Plan B One-Step, sometimes called the morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraceptive. This means it is a type of birth control used after unprotected intercourse or suspected contraceptive failure (e.g. a broken condom) to prevent pregnancy.

Is Plan B One-Step Effective?
One study conducted by Plan B One-Step found that 84% of expected pregnancies were prevented[1]. The makers of the drug claim that 7 out of 8 women who would have gotten pregnant, did not[2]. These figures are based on estimates of when ovulation might have occurred.

How is Plan B One-Step Administered?
Plan B® One-Step is administered in one tablet and must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex[3].

Should I take Plan B One-Step?
Many times women panic after having unprotected sex and rush to take the morning-after pill. However, you can only become pregnant on certain days of the month — around the time that you ovulate. Taking the morning-after pill during a time when you cannot become pregnant needlessly exposes you to large doses of hormones.

If you are already pregnant from an earlier sexual encounter, taking the morning-after pill is of no value and may cause harm[4]. To find out if you are pregnant, contact us, and we’ll connect you with a caring, qualified pregnancy center near you.

Can Plan B One-Step cause an abortion?
That depends upon how you define “life.”  Some believe that pregnancy does not begin until a fertilized egg implants in the womb. However, the scientific reality is that at conception, many defining features are determined such as gender, eye color, and hair color and growth begins[5]. This is why many believe that conception is the starting point of a new human life. Taking Plan B® after the sperm has fertilized the egg may prevent this new life from settling into the womb (implantation) and continuing to grow, which is why many consider it an early abortion[6].

Does Plan B One-Step have side effects and risks?
Like any medication, the incidence of risks and side effects is variable. Plan B One-Step® is associated with the following side effects: nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, heavier menstrual bleeding and dizziness[7].

Note: Option Line and our network of participating pregnancy centers offers peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, these centers do not offer or refer for abortion services or the morning-after pill. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.


1. Plan B® One-Step package insert. “Clinical Studies.” Package insert available at:
http://www.planbonestep.com/pdf/PlanBOneStepFullProductInformation.pdf (Accessed April 25, 2012)
2. Plan B® One-Step Website. “What Plan B® One-Step is.” http://www.planbonestep.com/what-is-plan-b.aspx (Accessed September 3, 2009)
3. Plan B® One-Step package insert. “Dosage and Administration.”
4. Plan B® One-Step package insert. “Contraindications.” Package insert available at:
http://www.planbonestep.com/pdf/PlanBOneStepFullProductInformation.pdf (Accessed April 25, 2012)
5. Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics 18th Edition, 2007 Sauders, an Imprint of Elsevier, Chap 79 The Human Genome; http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/210084012-3/1026247872/1608/210.html#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-2450-7..50081-5_1721 (Accessed July 16, 2010)
6.  Plan B® One-Step package insert. “Mechanism of Action.” Package insert available at: http://www.planbonestep.com/pdf/PlanBOneStepFullProductInformation.pdf (Accessed April 25, 2012)
7. Plan B® One-Step package insert. “Adverse Reactions.” Package insert available at: http://www.planbonestep.com/pdf/PlanBOneStepFullProductInformation.pdf (Accessed April 25, 2012)


Need to know about ella®?

What is ella?

ella is a form of emergency contraception. This means it is a type of birth control used after unprotected intercourse or suspected contraceptive failure (e.g. a broken condom) to prevent pregnancy.

It cannot be purchased over-the-counter and is only available by prescription in the United States.

ella is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.[1] It is only to be used for a single episode of unprotected intercourse.[2]

Is ella Effective?

If ella is taken as directed, it will reduce the chance of pregnancy, but it is not effective in every case.

In the two studies mentioned in the package insert, ella reduced the number of expected pregnancies from about 5.5% to an observed number of about 2%.[3] It is important to realize that this number is an estimate based on the number of pregnancies per 100 women at risk for pregnancy as calculated based upon the timing of intercourse with regard to each woman’s menstrual cycle.[4]

How is ella Administered?

ella is taken orally as one tablet as soon as possible within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected intercourse or a known or suspected contraceptive failure.[5] The ella tablet is a white to off-white, round, curved tablet containing 30 mg of ulipristal acetate and is marked “ella” on both sides.[6]

Should I take ella?

Many times women panic after having unprotected sex and rush to take emergency contraception, such as ella. However, you can only become pregnant on certain days of the month — around the time that you ovulate. Taking ella during a time when you cannot become pregnant needlessly exposes you to a new drug that has not been fully tested (see “What is unknown about ella” below). It is possible that you are already pregnant from an earlier episode of sex.

ella should not be used if you are or may be pregnant, if you are breast-feeding, for regular contraceptive use, or more than once during one menstrual cycle.[7] According to the manufacturers, pregnancy should be excluded before prescribing ella.[8] If pregnancy cannot be excluded on the basis of history and/or physical examination, pregnancy testing should be performed.[9] To find out if you are pregnant, contact us, and we’ll connect you with a caring, qualified pregnancy center near you.

Can ella really cause an abortion?

ella may act to reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by preventing or postponing ovulation. It may also change the lining of the uterus so that the embryo cannot implant in the uterus.[10]

The manufacturers of ella claim that the drug will not cause an abortion when it is taken correctly. This is based upon the assumption that life begins when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall. However, the scientific reality is that life begins at conception when the egg is fertilized. When the sperm penetrates the egg (fertilization), the sex, hair, eye color, height, etc. have all been determined and a new life has begun.

It is important to know that ella is a chemical cousin to the abortion pill Mifeprex, which is also called RU-486. ella and Mifeprex both work by blocking progesterone, which is a hormone needed for the establishment and maintenance of a pregnancy. When progesterone is blocked, the embryo is prevented from attaching to the uterus. If the embryo is already attached to the uterus, then the connection to the womb is dissolved and the embryo detaches and dies. This is clearly an abortion. Only limited studies were done with women who were early in pregnancy.

However, based upon how this drug worked in animals that were tested, it is reasonable to expect that ella would also have an abortive effect on early pregnancies in humans.

Does ella have side effects and risks?

The most common adverse reactions of ella include headache, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, menstrual cramps, fatigue, and dizziness.[11] Women who experience abdominal pain three to five weeks after using ella should be evaluated right away for an ectopic pregnancy by a physician.[12] An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.

After a woman takes ella, her period may occur earlier or later than expected by a few days.[13]

What is unknown about ella?

Much is unknown about the drug, including the following:

  • its effects on women under 18 years of age [14]
  • its effects on women over age 35 [15]
  • its effects on women taking other forms of hormonal contraception [16]
  • its effects on pregnant women [17]
  • its effects on women who are breast-feeding [18]
  • its effects after repeated use within the same menstrual cycle [19]
  • its effects on women who have not started their period [20]

Remember, your body and health are important, so take time to make the best decision. Please contact us to get more information.

Note: Option Line and our network of participating pregnancy centers offers peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, these centers do not offer or refer for abortion services or the morning-after pill. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.


1. ella package insert. “Indications and Uses.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
2. ella package insert. “How effective is ella?” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
3. ella package insert. “Clinical Studies.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 22, 2010)
4. ella package insert. “Clinical Studies.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 22, 2010)
5. ella package insert. “Dosage and Administration.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
6. ella package insert. “Dosage Forms and Strengths.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)
7. ella package insert. “Patient Counseling Information.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
8. ella package insert. “Warnings and Precautions.” Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
9. ella package insert. “Existing Pregnancy.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
10. ella package insert.” Mechanism of Action.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
11. ella package insert. “Adverse Reactions.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
12. ella package insert. “Patient Counseling Information.”  Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)
13. ella package insert. “Effect on Menstrual Cycle.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
14. ella package insert. “Pediatric Use.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
15. ella package insert. “Clinical Studies.”  Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)
16. ella package insert. “Patient Counseling Information.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)
17. ella package insert. “Pregnancy.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
18. ella package insert. “Nursing Mothers.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)
19. ella package insert. “Repeated Use.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)
20. ella package insert. “Pediatric Use.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)