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Can I Use My Birth Control Pills as Emergency Contraception?

I've heard that you can use regular birth control pills as emergency contraception by just taking more of them all at once. Is this true? If so, how many should I take?

Answer

Yes -- certain brands of regular birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives (OCs), can be used in high doses as emergency contraception. Although these are not approved specifically as emergency contraceptive pills, they have been proven safe and effective for preventing pregnancy if taken within the few days after unprotected sex.
 
However, using regular birth control pills as an emergency contraceptive is not as effective at preventing pregnancy as the approved emergency contraceptive products, such as Plan B One-Step™, Next Choice®, or ella®.
 
The exact dose depends on which type of birth control pills you are taking. Contact your healthcare provider for specific recommendations on which OCs can be used and for instructions on how to do so for an emergency contraception situation.
 
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