Plan B and Ella are emergency contraceptive pills which prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, but there are some key differences between them. Understanding their differences can help you decide which of the two emergency contraceptive pills available in the United States will work best for you.
They Contain Different Active Ingredients
Plan B contains levonorgestrel while Ella contains ulipristal. Levonorgestrel is a progestin-only medication, similar to what’s in regular birth control but at a much higher dose. Like birth control pills, Plan B stops the ovaries releasing eggs and prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing any existing eggs.
Ulipristal, found in Ella, also delays or prevents ovulation. If an egg has been fertilized, ulipristal makes it difficult for the egg to embed into the uterus and grow.
Plan B is More Accessible
Plan B is readily available over-the-counter without showing a prescription or ID. You need a prescription to take Ella. It also isn’t available at all pharmacies. However, you can always get Ella from Nurx.
Ella is More Effective for Longer
Plan B typically reduces your risk of falling pregnant by 88%. If you take it within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it prevents pregnancy in 95% of cases.
Ella is 65% more effective at preventing pregnancy than Plan B when it’s taken within 24 hours. If taken within 72 hours, Ella is still 42% more effective than Plan B.
Emergency contraceptives always work best the sooner you take them. However, Ella can work five days after unprotected sex, while Plan B only works three days after unprotected sex. Plan B also isn’t as effective as Ella around the time of ovulation.
Ella Works Better for Women With Higher BMIs
Studies suggest emergency contraceptives don’t work as well for women with high body mass indexes. Plan B is recommended for women under 165 lb. Ella has less stringent weight requirements. It should be effective for women up to 195 lb.