Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Plan B (But Were Afraid To Ask)

We’ve written before about “Learning to Love Plan B,” but it seems there’s a lot of misinformation going around at Kenyon about the actual mechanics of just how emergency contraception works/when you can take it, etc., etc. To put the rumors to rest, we spoke to Kim Cullers, Health Center director and certified nurse practitioner, about some of the more common questions we’ve heard circulating about Plan B. Check out her answers below!


Is there a fixed number of times you can take Plan B? (i.e., “You can only take it three times in your life.”) There is no fixed [number of] times that you can take Plan B, but the manufacturer is quick to point out that, “Plan B should NOT be used as your primary form of contraception.” But there is NO evidence that repeatedly using Plan B is harmful to your health!

Can you take Plan B while on another form of birth control? Yes. We have occasionally provided Plan B to women who are already on the birth control pill if they have been irregular in taking the pills, missed a day or just want the additional reassurance that a pregnancy will be avoided.

Does Plan B only literally work “the morning after”? How long is the window to take it? The package insert for Plan B recommends that you take the medication within 72 hours for maximum protection. There have been studies that report effectiveness even up to five days, but they stress the importance of taking it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to get the most benefit. An interesting fact that some people may not know … It will not abort or affect a pregnancy if [a pregnancy] has already occurred.

Is there a significant difference between name brand Plan B and the generic version? Generic is almost identical to the name brand and is just as effective.

Do you need a prescription for Plan B? Do you have to be over 18 to buy it in Mount Vernon? You do NOT need a prescription in the state of Ohio if you are over 17. Minors under the age of 17 can get Plan B with a prescription. Some pharmacies choose NOT to carry this medication for ethical reasons, but most of the large retail pharmacies like Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS are well stocked. It can be pricey though, costing anywhere between $35 and $60!

Can you get Plan B at the Health Center? We carry the generic Plan B here in the Health Center for $20. Students only need to read the information handout and sign a consent. We also will allow partners to pick up the prescription (as long as the partner who is taking the medication reads and signs the consent). If a woman is assaulted or raped, we provide the medication free of charge.

The Thrill is collecting personal narratives/anecdotes about Kenyon students’ experiences with buying or taking Plan B for a post next week, and we’d love to hear yours. Anything goes — good experiences, weird experiences, anything and everything in between. We are happy to run anonymous submissions, so just leave your narrative in the comments (make sure to specify if you’d like it to be used, though) or send your submissions to thekenyonthrill@gmail.com.

3 responses

  1. I was in an abusive relationship my freshman year and the guy I was with would rarely use a condom even if I begged him to. I was on the pill, but sometimes I’d miss a day or wouldn’t get my prescription in time so I ended up having to get Plan B a lot. I am so grateful to the health center for selling the generic and more affordable version, and to the women who work there for always making me feel safe, welcome, and cared for. Only once (my junior year) did I see an NP at the health center who sneered at my chart and suggested condescendingly that I should consider another form of birth control. I probably would have done the same thing in her position and I know she was just trying to be helpful, but she made me feel scolded, like a child. I didn’t know how to say ‘he raped me’. I didn’t know how to say ‘I didn’t know what else to do’.

  2. Pingback: Viral Gastroenteritis : “It’s Happening. It Happened.” | The Thrill

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