Recently the FDA announced new changes to current rules regarding emergency contraception. The medication in question, Plan B One-Step, is a single high-dose hormone (levonorgestrel) treatment that can prevent pregnancy if used correctly within 72 hours of contraceptive failure. It does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
Previously, Plan B One-Step was available over the counter to patients above the age of seventeen. For patients under the age of seventeen, a prescription was required.
Earlier this month, the FDA passed a new ruling that will make Plan B available without a prescription to females age 15 and older. The change is intended to increase access to the medication and help prevent unintended pregnancies. All studies have indicated that the medication is safe to use in young women, and therefore would not pose an increased risk by being made widely available. This ruling only applies to the Plan B One-Step and not to other similar “morning-after” pills. As per the FDA, the ruling was to take effect immediately. The Justice Department has also appealed a broader ruling that would not allow the FDA to put any age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B One-Step.
With the debate still ongoing, Plan B One-Step will continue to be available at pharmacies, but it may take some time before the changes will occur. You may still require your ID or a prescription, as most pharmacies are currently still operating according to the previous standards. The ruling also applies only to Plan B One-Step, and other emergency contraceptives (such as the two-dose Plan B or Next Choice) will not be available under the new rules.
Stay tuned for updates.
The GoodRx Pharmacist