Choosing Between Take Action and Plan B

Medically Reviewed By Stacy A. Henigsman, DO
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Take Action is the generic form of Plan B. Both medications have the same active ingredient, dosage, and effectiveness but may differ in cost and accessibility. Both medications produce the same result and contain the same active ingredient. However, they do differ. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision about which route is best for you.

Emergency contraception does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or terminate an existing pregnancy.

Read ahead to learn more about the differences between Take Action and Plan B to help you choose the best medication for you.

A snapshot comparison

there is a photo of plan b and take action pills
SETH HERALD/Getty Images
Active ingredientCostEffectivenessDosageSide effects
Plan Blevonorgestrel$40–5075–89% within 3 days1.5 milligrams (mg) per pillmay cause nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, or irregular menstrual bleeding
Take Actionlevonorgestrel$35–4075–89% within 3 days1.5 mg per pillmay cause nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, or irregular menstrual bleeding

Differences in detail

Find more detail about the differences between Take Action and Plan B below.

Cost and where to find them

On average, Take Action costs around 20% less than Plan B. You may be able to find Take Action for as little as $35, whereas Plan B can cost $40–50.

However, while Take Action is often cheaper, it can be harder to find than Plan B. You can find it from online providers, such as Target or Walmart. In contrast, Plan B is available online and in most pharmacies.

If Take Action is unavailable in a pharmacy, other generic Plan B alternatives may be available. These generics will likely still be more affordable than the brand-name medication.

Effectiveness

Both pills are equally as effective. You should take either Plan B or Take Action within 72 hours of having sex without a barrier method. Taking either pill within this timeline should reduce your chance of pregnancy by 75–89%.

The sooner you take the medication, the more effective it will be. Despite this, you can take these pills up to 5 days after having sex without a condom or other barrier methods. However, you should expect a significant reduction in effectiveness if you take it after 72 hours.

Several medications can stop Plan B or Take Action from working effectively, including:

  • St. John’s wort
  • HIV medications, such as antivirals
  • barbiturates, anticonvulsants, and other medications to treat seizures

Be aware of any vomiting after you have taken any morning-after medication. If you vomit within 2 hours of taking Plan B or Take Action, you may need another dose. Contact a healthcare professional to seek advice.

Side effects

Both Take Action and Plan B contain the same active ingredient, levonorgestrel. Therefore, they share the same potential side effects.

The most common side effects include: 

Choosing between Take Action and Plan B

Both emergency contraceptive medications use the same active ingredient. Therefore, they work identically and are equally effective. You will likely base your choice between Take Action and Plan B on your budget and how accessible each brand is.

While Take Action is cheaper, Plan B is often easier to find in retailers. Plan B is often available in most drugstores and pharmacies.

Plan B vs. Take Action

Plan B and Take Action contain a substance that replicates your body’s natural progesterone hormone. This synthetic version of the hormone is levonorgestrel. The purpose of this substance is to temporarily prevent the ovary from releasing the egg.

Preventing ovulation means that there is no egg for sperm to interact with, preventing pregnancy.

This works the same way as regular birth control, except Plan B and Take Action contain a higher dose. However, there is no guarantee that any emergency contraception will work. For example, Plan B and Take Action are significantly less effective if you take them too late or after ovulating.

Plan B and Take Action are most effective when you take them before ovulation and within 72 hours of having sex without a barrier method.

Take Action and Plan B branding explained

Take Action is the generic form of Plan B.

Therefore, Take Action is also a levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill. It works in the same way as Plan B to stop ovulation, preventing fertilization and implantation.

There is minimal difference between Plan B and Take Action, except for the price. They contain the same active ingredient and are identical in terms of effectiveness and dosage. Take Action is an unbranded version of Plan B.

Safety

Neither Take Action nor Plan B is safer than the other. In general, experts consider all morning-after pills to be safe.

There are no known long-term effects of morning-after pills. Additionally, emergency contraceptives will not cause an abortion.

Learn more about how to morning-after pill works.

Contraception alternatives

Do not use emergency contraception as a method of regular birth control. There are many different methods you could choose from for regular birth control, including:

  • Birth control pills: These come in many forms. Seek advice from your healthcare professional about which form will work best for your lifestyle.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD): These are T-shaped devices that clinicians implant into your uterus. They come in hormonal and nonhormonal forms and last 3–5 years.
  • Implant: Clinicians implant a rod into the skin that contains progestin. This prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs.
  • Barrier methods, such as condoms with spermicide: These methods prevent any sperm from reaching the egg, thus preventing pregnancy. Condoms and diaphragms are the only barriers that protect from STIs.

Learn birth control options ranked by effectiveness.

Summary

Take Action is a generic, unbranded form of Plan B.

The main differences between Take Action and Plan B are price and accessibility. This allows you to have a choice should you require emergency contraception.

However, do not use these medications as forms of regular contraception. Excessive use can have unwanted effects on your menstrual cycle.

Contact your doctor to discuss which form of regular, effective, and long-term birth control best suits you.

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Medical Reviewer: Stacy A. Henigsman, DO
Last Review Date: 2022 Sep 9
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