Emergency Contraception Using Oral Contraceptives
by Marty Couret, MSN, NP

Name Manufacturer Pills per Dose Ethinyl / Estradiol
per Dose (mcg)
per Dose (mg)
Emergency Contraception Kits
Plan B WCC 1 white pill 0 0.75
Preven Gynetics 2 blue pills 100 0.50
Doses of Common Oral Contraceptives Used for Emergency Contraceptives
Alesse Wyeth-Ayerst 5 pink pills 100 0.50
Levlen Berlex 4 light-orange pills 120 0.50
Levlite Berlex 5 pink pills 100 0.50
Levora Watson 4 white pills 120 0.60
Lo/Ovral Wyeth-Ayerst 4 white pills 120 0.60
Low-Ogestrel Watson 4 white pills 120 1.2 (Norgestrel)
Nordette Wyeth-Ayerst 4 light-orange pills 120 0.60
Ogestrel Watson 2 white pills 100 1.0 (Norgestrel)
Ovral Wyeth-Ayerst 2 white pills 100 0.50
Ovrette Wyeth-Ayerst 20 yellow pills 0 0.75 (Norgestrel)
Tri-Levlen Berlex 4 yellow pills 120 0.50
Triphasil Wyeth-Ayerst 4 yellow pills 120 0.50
Trivora Watson 4 pink pills 120 0.50


Treatment requires one dose be administered within 72 hours post-coitus. The second dose should be taken 12 hours after the first dose. Both Plan B and Preven are specifically designed and marketed for emergency contraception. Alesse, Levlen, Levlite, Levora, Lo/Ovral, Low-Ogestrel, Nordette, Ogestrel, Ovral, Tri-Levlen, Triphasil, and Trivora have all been approved by the FDA as effective treatments for emergency contraception.

Nausea Prevention

  • An antiemetic may be administered one hour before EC for possible gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Plan B (the progestin-only EC) has been shown to cause less nausea compared with combined hormone therapies.


Schnare, M. Sharon. Emergency post-coital contraception. The American Journal for Nurse Practitioners, February 2000: 15-22.

Trussell J., Koenig J., Ellertson C., Stewart F. Preventing unintended pregnancy: the cost-effectiveness of three methods of emergency contraception. American Journal of Public Health 1997; 87(6):932-937.

Last updated: March 28, 2001


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