Five Things to Know About Emergency Contraception
There's both hormonal and non-hormonal methods of emergency contraception.
Hormonal methods of emergency contraception use pills containing derivatives of progesterone and/or estrogen to prevent fertilization up to five days after unprotected sex. With non-hormonal contraceptives, you can use a device, such as the copper intrauterine device (IUD), or ulipristal acetate, a medication that blocks the action of progestin in the course of fertilization.
In most of the US, if you are 18 years of age or older, you do not need a prescription for emergency contraception. However, New York City is dispensing the morning-after pill to girls as young as 14 at more than 50 public high schools.
Source: CBS News
Emergency contraception does not prevent transmission of a sexually acquired infection such as herpes, HIV, gonorrhea or chlamydia. A condom should be used to protect against these infections.
Emergency contraceptives can be used multiple times, even within the same menstrual cycle. However, it definitely should not be used as your primary means of birth control. You should use it only as an emergency backup and instead speak with your doctor about a contraceptive that you can reliably and regularly use.
They're not the same. Emergency contraception only works before there is a pregnancy in the uterus and will not affect a pregnancy that has already occurred. A medical abortion (like RU-486) terminates an ongoing pregnancy.