7 Things Many People Don't Know About Plan B (but Should!)

Sixty-two percent of college kids believe that you have to be 18 to purchase the emergency contraceptive Plan B — and they are 100 percent wrong. The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and Teva Women's Health, the makers of Plan B One-Step, partnered to survey 3,600 college students between the ages of 18 and 25 to see just how much they knew about the first FDA-approved over-the-counter emergency contraceptive, and it was surprising to discover just how much many people don't know — but should.

The pill is an effective method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex or failed birth control, and it's essential that everyone's well aware of its benefits in order to be fully educated about their options if they ever need to consider Plan B One-Step. Here are the facts you should know.

Do you need to be 18 years old to buy it?
No! In the survey of college students 18-25, 62 percent of males and 52 percent of females believed that you had to be 18 years old to purchase Plan B, but it's important to know that there is no age restriction on purchasing it over the counter.

What is the window of time for taking Plan B after sex?
More than half of both the men and women surveyed answered incorrectly when asked what the window of time for taking the pill was! Plan B should taken within 72 hours, or three days after, unprotected sex or failed birth control. It's important to note that the sooner Plan B One-Step is taken, the more effectively it works!

Do you need an ID to purchase Plan B?
No! You can purchase Plan B over the counter without an ID and without a prescription. Most local retail stores and pharmacies sell Plan B over the counter — the Plan B site can help you locate the store nearest you.

Does it protect you against STIs?
Plan B is meant to be used as an emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancy — it does NOT protect you against STIs.

Does it work if you're already pregnant?
The pill will not work if you are already pregnant. Plan B One-Step works by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. According to Plan B, it's also possible that it works "by preventing fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) or by preventing attachment (implantation) to the uterus (womb)." This means that if you are already pregnant, the pill would be ineffective — Plan B is not an "abortion pill."

Can you use emergency contraceptive as regular birth control?
Plan B is a backup birth control method, but can't be used as a replacement for regular birth control pills because the drugs work differently and Plan B is not an effective form of regular birth control. After taking Plan B, one should resume their regular form of birth control immediately.

How effective is Plan B One-Step?
According to Plan B, when taken correctly, the pill can significantly decrease the chances of pregnancy, noting that about "seven out of every eight women who would have gotten pregnant will not become pregnant" as result of the emergency contraceptive.