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09/28/2016: Updating this post to say that Nordette is back on the market! Hurray!

I got word that Nordette has been phased out. Fret not, here’s a list of alternatives!

Here’s the list of alternatives, in case you can’t get Nordette.

Take 2 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 2 more pills 12 hours later: Femenal, Nordiol

Take 4 pills within 120 hours after unprotected sex and take 4 more pills 12 hours later: Charlize, Lady, Rigevidon 21 + 7, Seif, Trust Pills

Source: The Emergency Contraception Website

As I’ve been feeling like people aren’t reading Emergency Contraception 101 before commenting on this post, I’ve taken the liberty of pasting the content below and updating the FAQs. READ the FAQs before asking, because of the most of the questions I’m still getting are already answered there. Thank you and be safe!

Emergency Contraception 101

So you had unprotected intercourse. You shouldn’t have, but you did. And now here we are! Fret not, you can fix this. You can use emergency contraception, a.k.a Plan B or the Morning After pill.

Here’s What You Do

  1. Ensure that it has only been 120 hours since your last unprotected intercourse. The closer you are to the zero hour, the better.
  2. Buy a pack of Nordette birth control pills. They usually come in a 21-pill pack and the active ingredients are ethinyl­ estradiol (30 mcg) and levonor­gestrel (150 mcg). If you’re in the Philippines, Mercury Drugstore has this for less than 200 PHP. If you can’t get Nordette, see list of alternatives at the top of the page.
  3. Take 4 active pills at once.
  4. Wait 12 hours, document your side effects just in case.
  5. Take 4 more active pills.
  6. Get yourself to an OB-GYNE sometime this week to discuss more stable birth control methods because this is not healthy.

Rules, Actual Rules (New Section!)

  1. Take it in at most 120 hours. See FAQ item 1.
  2. If you vomit within three hours after taking a dose, retake. See FAQ item 10.
  3. Do NOT have unprotected intercourse in the week after taking ECP. See FAQ item 16.

Notes on Pills

  1. If the pack you got has 28 pills instead of 21, that’s fine. Each pack has 21 active pills and 7 placebo or reminder pills. Take the active pills.
  2. The active ingredient you’re really going for is the levonorgestrel, not the ethinyl estradiol.
  3. Technically, any pill that gives you a total of 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel (0.75 mg doses 12 hours apart) will do.

Notes on Asking Me Questions

  1. READ THE FAQs.
  2. READ THE FAQs.
  3. READ THE FAQs.
  4. READ THE FAQs.
  5. READ THE FAQs.
  6. READ THE FAQs.
  7. READ THE FAQs.
  8. If you must send me a message, e-mail me at childfreefilipina [at] gmail.com because I don’t get to check this account at all.
  9. READ THE FAQs. Seriously, if you send me a message asking me about something already in the FAQs, I will respond with READ THE FAQs.
  10. READ THE FAQs.

Side Effects

As usual, it depends on the person. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, withdrawal bleeding, bloating, cramps, and mood swings. This is because of the intense hormonal spike that you induced. So hopefully if you do this, you do it just this once.

FAQs

I am taking off from this post where a ton of readers left their comments.

  1. Is it still effective after 120 hours? Some sources say you can go up to 150 hours. After that I guess it would just be a matter of luck.
  2. Will they ask me for a prescription? Maybe yes, maybe no. Depends on the Mercury Drugstore branch attendees. You either go to every branch until someone sells you a pack, or you lie and say you left your prescription at home but you have been using it for a while. Read this.
  3. How many times can I use this method? Ideally, never. It screws with your hormones, and after all those side effects I think you wouldn’t want to do this more than once.
  4. But I bought the pack and it says take one a day for 21 days! Yes, that’s how we normally take the pill. You’re doing the emergency route. Think of it as one teaspoon of sugar in your coffee on a normal day vs. four teaspoons of sugar in a liter of water because you have gastroenteritis.
  5. Will I die? Extremely unlikely, unless you’re really dodgy on the heart. In which case, go to your OB-GYNE!
  6. What if I’m too scared of the side effects you talked about? Well then you’re just going to have to deal with the side effects of being pregnant which, surprise, are exactly the same! With the very small difference that you have to take care of a child for the next 18 years.
  7. If it doesn’t work and I get pregnant, will it affect the baby? No, it’s just hormones. When you take it, you basically have the hormones of four pregnant women in you. Crazy side effects, but won’t cause birth defects.
  8. What if I’m too ashamed to buy the pills? Get one of your more adventurous friends to buy it for you, or just suck it up because if you’re too ashamed to buy pills then good luck dealing with the social stigma of an unintended pregnancy.
  9. What if I’m not experiencing any side effects?! That is some superhuman strength right there I tell you. Just be calm and take a pregnancy test next month.
  10. Do I need to retake it if I vomit? “If you vomit within three hours of taking the ECP, you should see your pharmacist, doctor, or Family Planning clinic for advice and further tablets.” (Pharmacy Live)
  11. Can I take this while on my period? Yeah okay but since you’re already on your period and if you had intercourse just 120 hours ago, your menstrual cycle says you’re safe.
  12. How will I know it worked??? I know you’re worried AF, but besides taking a pregnancy test or waiting for your period, I don’t know. And if the digging I’ve done on the subject on the internet is to be trusted, nobody does either. There are a lot of factors that go into this (where you are in your cycle, what contraceptives you took, etc) so there’s really just no way of knowing immediately after taking ECP that it worked. Go ask reddit if you want more people to weigh in on that, but users there agreed that we just. Don’t. Know. Yes it’s a hassle but I can’t do anything about this. See also: FAQ item 13.
  13. It’s been several days since I took ECP, and now I’m bleeding, and it’s darker and less heavy than my normal period. What is happening? This is the withdrawal bleeding I mentioned earlier. It’s a fake period, and is NOT the start of your actual period. Why does it happen? Because you ingested a ton of hormones and when those hormones leave your body, you go through withdrawal just like with any other drug. With normal pill users, the withdrawal bleed happens on day 24 or day 25. Basically, pill users don’t ever actually menstruate, it’s all fake. Read this if you want to learn the nitty-gritty of pill use. As for your period, you’re going to have to be patient; it may be delayed due to the ECP. Just stay calm. If you want to be absolutely sure, then take a pregnancy test a month after the unprotected intercourse happened.
  14. Can I take more than 8? No. Put that pill pack down, you’re going to be fine.
  15. I haven’t taken any pills before, can I do this? Yes. Also consider going on the pill to avoid more of these episodes.
  16. Can I have unprotected sex right after I do this emergency procedure? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Let’s put it this way… You left the stove on and the house almost burned down. You managed to put out the fire. And you’re going to leave the stove on again? Come on now. “ECPs are only good to protect against one act of unprotected sex. They work by blocking ovulation, but only for a few days, so if you take them and have unprotected sex again afterwards, you’re significantly increasing your risk of a pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex again within a few days of taking the pills, there will be more sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes when the egg is eventually released.” (Bedsider.org 2014)
  17. What do I do with the 13 leftover pills? Keep it in your purse if you think you’ll need it again.
  18. (New!) What happens if I take the second dose after 24 or 32 or whatever not-12-hours? Girl IDK don’t do it, the instructions say 12, do it in 12, k? Tnx.
  19. (New!) When can I start taking pills regularly? After you’ve verified that you’re not pregnant. Go see an OB-GYNE if you can!

Other Methods

  • You can try to procure the real Plan B, just make sure that you’re getting it from a supplier you can trust. This supplier quotes it at 3000 – 3500 PHP.
  • I have heard that Vitamin C can be used as an emergency contraceptive but I do not endorse it. I don’t know anyone who’s done this.
  • You can get a copper IUD inserted by your OB-GYNE within 120 hours and it will also work as emergency contraception. Cost is 2500 PHP and up, and you can keep using it for the next 12 years. According to the US CDC, it’s 99.92% effective. Read this if you’re considering it. Not for the squeamish!
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