brand b

Do cheaper morning-after pills work as well as brand name pills?

Someone asked us:

I was at the drugstore and I saw that they had a few different brands of plan b. Some of them were cheaper than others so like, do they all work the same or are more expensive ones stronger?

Short answer: all morning-after pill brands that you can buy without a prescription work the same, regardless of price. It doesn’t matter if you get it at a pharmacy, convenience store, health center, or a reliable online drugstore. Get yo bargain on!

Like most medicines, there are different brands of morning-after pills. They may be different prices, but they all have the same active ingredients and have the same effectiveness.

In the U.S., all over-the-counter morning-after pills use 1.5mg of levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy. Levonorgestrel is a type of progestin, the same kind of hormone that’s in all hormonal birth control, like the IUD, pill, and shot.  

Some brands of levonorgestrel morning-after pills that are sold in the U.S. include:

  • Plan B One-Step
  • Next Choice One Dose
  • My Way
  • Aftera
  • Take Action
  • EContra EZ
  • Option 2
  • Athentia Next
  • Fallback Solo
  • Opcicon One-Step
  • Morning After
  • AfterPill (only available online)

Less expensive brands are often called “generics.” The FDA requires generic medications to have the same active ingredient, strength, dosage, quality, and effectiveness as name brands. So why can they cost less if they work the same? Because the companies making generics don’t usually pay for advertising, and they don’t have to run the expensive clinical trials that the original brand needed to do to get FDA approval for that kind of drug.

You can always double-check with the pharmacist if you’re concerned about buying the right pill. But as long as it says “levonorgestrel 1.5mg” somewhere on the package, feel free to buy the cheapest morning-after pill on the shelf —  it will work exactly the same as more expensive brands.

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood