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Emergency Contraception

If you have engaged in unprotected intercourse or your primary method of birth control has failed, you can use emergency contraception (EC) to help prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception should not be used as your regular/only form of birth control because it is not (a) as effective or (b) as affordable as regular, non-emergency types of birth control. 

Some examples of when you might need to use EC: 
  • You did not use a barrier method or other hormonal birth control method when you had vaginal sex. 
  • A mistake was made with your regular hormonal birth control (you forgot to take your birth control pills, get your shot on time, or change your ring or patch) and you had vaginal sex. 
  • The condom slipped off or broke after ejaculation.
  • Your partner didn't pull out in time. 
  • You were coerced/forced to have unprotected vaginal sex. 

Types of Emergency Contraception

There are two options for emergency contraception: 
  1. Certain types of IUDs (intrauterine devices) are used as EC. They are effective if they are inserted within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex. This is the most effective type of EC, as they work as well on day one as they do on day five. Usually, the copper IUD (non-hormonal) is used for this purpose. 
  2. Emergency Contraception pills (also known as the morning-after pill). There are two types of these pills:
    1. Brand name: ella; contains ulipristal acetate 
      1. Most effective type of EC pill, but only available through prescription from a healthcare provider. 
      2. Can be taken up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected vaginal sex. But the sooner you take it, the better. 
      3. If you weigh over 195 pounds, ella may not work as well.
    2. Brand names: Plan B One Step, Take Action, My Way, Option 2, Preventeza, AfterPill, My Choice, and more; contains levonorgestrel. 
      1. You can buy these pills over-the-counter without a prescription. 
      2. Works best when taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected vaginal sex. Like the other EC pill, the sooner you take it, the better. 
      3. If you weigh over 165 pounds, these types of pills may not work. 

Availability on Campus

The Mountaineer Pharmacy, located on the Evansdale campus on the ground floor of the Student Health Building, sells the brand "My Choice" for $15 over-the-counter. 

WVU Student Health Services is able to prescribe the ella brand pill, the prescription for which can be filled through the Mountaineer Pharmacy. 

For more information on emergency contraception, visit Planned Parenthood's EC education site.

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