Emergency contraception basic information
Originally Published: March 6, 1998 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 1, 2009
My boyfriend and I had sex last night and we saw that the condom had broke. We don't know when it happened and I've been looking all over for the 72 hour correction thing that the commercials say — just in case. Can you help me?
It sounds like you're searching for emergency contraception (EC), which can help to prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex. The toll-free phone number for the Emergency Contraception Hotline, from anywhere in the United States, is 1.888-NOT-2-LATE. And, now you can use EC within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse, though it's recommended to take EC as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse for greater effectiveness.
EC is available in the United States without a prescription for people who are 17 or older. Women and men can pick up EC from their local pharmacist. Now considered "behind the counter," EC is shelved, as you might guess, behind the pharmacist's counter. That means you will need to ask your pharmacist for the EC and show proof of your age, but you won't need to call or visit your doctor first if you are 17 or older. People under the age of 17 in the United States still need a prescription from a health care provider to obtain EC — for a prescription, visit your regular health care provider or a health center such as Planned Parenthood.