A new brand of emergency contraception from France, called 'ella', has been shown to be effective up to five days after unprotected sex. Currently, the Plan B pill and its generic forms are found to be most effective when taken within 72 hours. This new pill could allow an additional two days to protect against unwanted pregnancy. Although already approved for use in Europe, the FDA is still reviewing this one-dose pill for use in America.*
There has been much debate over the use of emergency contraception (EC) as many question its similarities to the abortion pill, RU-486. Ella, as with other EC pills, works by preventing the ovulation of a woman's egg. The hormones found in these pills are the same hormones found in regular birth control pills, but in higher concentrations. This surge in hormones works to prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, thicken the cervical mucus, and thin the uterine lining. It is important to note that with any emergency contraception, if the woman is already pregnant (meaning a fertilized egg is implanted into the uterus), these pills will not terminate the pregnancy. They simply create potential barriers against fertilization and implantation. As with all birth control, emergency contraception is not 100% effective. If used within 72 hours, Plan B is 89% effective against pregnancy. If you choose to be sexually active, be proactive in your protection.
For a more in-depth look at how emergency contraception works, visit Planned Parenthood or click here.
*UPDATE: The FDA Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs voted unanimously to recommend the drug, putting it one step closer toward full FDA approval and on the shelves! For more information, click here.