How and Where to Get the Morning After Pill

Woman taking contraceptive pill

The morning-after pill is a form of birth control that is to be used as emergency contraception only. It is typically used as a back-up in order to prevent pregnancy when your birth control has failed or if you've had unprotected sex. If you are in need of the morning-after pill, you will be relieved to know that it can be purchased conveniently and easily.

Prescription Needed

The most effective type of morning-after pill is sold under the name 'ella' and contains the drug ulipristal acetate which helps delay ovulation. It is recommended that this pill is taken with 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sex or birth control failure. This pill will remain fully effective for those 5 days. This type of morning-after pill will require a prescription from your doctor.


The second type of morning-after pill contains levonorgestrel which is a hormone that can help prevent pregnancy. It is recommended that it's taken within 72 to 120 hours (3 to 5 days) of unprotected sex or birth control failure. However, with this pill the sooner you take it, the more effective it is. It does not require a prescription from your doctor. These types of morning-after pills are typically over-the-counter products.

Where to Find the Morning-After Pill

There are a number of different options to obtain the morning-after pill which include:

Ella Morning-After Pill

You will need a prescription for this morning-after pill which you can get from your doctor, an urgent care facility, Planned Parenthood or other family planning clinic, a health department clinic or your student health center on campus. Your local pharmacist can give you a prescription for ella but only if you live in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, California, Washington, Alaska or Hawaii. The ella website also offers next-day delivery of the pill after an online medical consultation.

Over-the-Counter Morning-After Pills

The over-the-counter morning-after pills such as Plan B One-Step, My Way, and their generic versions Take Action and Next Choice One Dose can usually be found at most drug stores and pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Target and Walmart. You can also get the morning-after pill at Planned Parenthood or other health and family planning clinics. While there's no age restriction or prescription needed for this type of pill, you may still need to get assistance when purchasing the pill because they may be locked up or behind the pharmacy counter. Another option is ordering the pill online. However, keep in mind the timeframe when the pill needs to be taken if you order online. You may need to have it shipped overnight.

How Much Does it Cost?

The following is the cost of the various morning-after pills (prices may vary):

Ella Morning-After Pill

You can expect to pay approximately $50 to nearly $70 for the ella morning-after pill depending on where you purchase it. The nearly $70 charge can be found on the ella website which includes the pill and medical consultation.

Over-the-Counter Morning-After Pills

The over-the-counter morning-after pills such as Plan B One-Step, Take Action and My Way range from $15 to $50. The generic versions can run about $20.

Other Options

There are a couple of other options you can consider when purchasing the morning-after pill. You may want to check with your insurance. Give your insurance company a call and see if they cover the cost of the morning-after pills. However, keep in mind a prescription may be required regardless of which morning-after pill you plan on taking, ella or over-the-counter. Another option is checking with Planned Parenthood or your local health department who may be able to help you with the cost and give you free or low priced emergency contraception.

Emergency Contraception Only

You should never rely on or use the morning-after pill as your only form of birth control. It should just be used for emergency contraception only. It is important to remember that the reason the morning-after pill is used is to provide back-up pregnancy prevention. The morning-after pill alone is simply not as effective as the standard forms of birth control such as the pill, IUD or condoms.

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How and Where to Get the Morning After Pill