Taking Next Choice within 72 hours after unprotected sex may help prevent pregnancy. This emergency contraceptive is available without a prescription for women who are at least 17 years old (for women younger than 17, a prescription is needed). The sooner this contraceptive is taken, the more effective it is at preventing pregnancy. Side effects may include nausea, headaches, and fatigue.
What Is Next Choice?Next Choice® (levonorgestrel) is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It is available without a prescription for women who are 17 years old and older. It can only be purchased at the pharmacy counter, and you must show government-issued identification, such as a driver's license. For women age 16 and younger, Next Choice can only be obtained with a prescription.
In some states, specially trained pharmacists may dispense Next Choice to all women, regardless of age, without a prescription.
Next Choice is a generic version of Plan B® (see Generic Plan B). It comes in two forms: original Next Choice (generic for Plan B), which consists of two tablets that are taken 12 hours apart, and new Next Choice ONE DOSE (generic for Plan B One-Step), which consists of one tablet. Both products are available by prescription for individuals under 17 years old or without a prescription for those 17 and older.
(Click What Is Next Choice Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)
How Does Next Choice Work?
Next Choice contains a high dose of levonorgestrel, a progesterone-type of hormone that is used in many birth control pills. It prevents pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries) or by preventing fertilization of the egg if ovulation has already occurred.
It also alters the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to a fertilized egg. If a fertilized egg has already implanted into the uterus, Next Choice will not cause an abortion.