Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP)

How does it work?

  • 2 pills containing the hormone progestin or 2 pills containing the hormones progestin and estrogen
  • Prevents ovary from releasing an egg, prevents sperm and egg from uniting or prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus
  • Must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to help prevent pregnancy
  • Take both pills at once or the first pill as soon as possible, then the second pill 12 hours later
  • These pills do not replace your regular method of birth control


  • 95% effective if taken within 24 hours, 85% effective if taken within 25-48 hours, or 58% effective if taken within 49-72 hours of unprotected vaginal sex
  • Available from pharmacists or in some pharmacies so you do not need to see a doctor
  • If you are already pregnant, the ECP will not cause an abortion or harm the fetus


  • No protection against STIs, including HIV
  • Must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected vaginal intercourse
  • Side effects may include nausea, mild stomach upset, tiredness, headache or spotting
  • There are two types of ECP used in Canada: Ovral® and Plan B®. Ovral® contains the same female hormones, estrogen and progestin, as regular birth control pills but at a higher dose. Plan B® is made from the progestin hormone only. Both are available in the Yukon but Plan B® is the only one available over the counter in drug stores without a prescription.

How can I get the Emergency Contraceptive Pill?

The Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) is available at:

  • Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) (free)
  • Community Health Centres (free)
  • Emergency Department of Whitehorse or Watson hospital (free)
  • Most doctor’s offices (free)
  • Pharmacies/Drug Stores: Ovral® is inexpensive (less than $10) but requires a prescription from a doctor. Plan B® is available without a prescription, but is more expensive (around $25 to $40).