My Way Morning-After Pill

My Way Pill
My Way Morning-After Pill. Photo © Dawn Stacey

My Way is a morning-after pill used for emergency contraception. My Way consists of just one single pill that contains 1.5 mg of the progestin levonorgestrel. Manufactured by Gavis Pharmaceuticals, My Way was FDA-approved on February 22, 2013 for emergency contraceptive use to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or suspected contraception failure.

My Way is the one-pill generic version of the emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step.

It also contains that same progestin dose as the morning-after pills: Take Action, Next Choice One Dose, and AfterPill.

What is the My Way Pill?

My Way is a morning-after pill that consists of one white/off-white, flat, round tablet. It is stamped with NL 620 on one side, and the other side is blank. The My Way pill contains a higher amount of levonorgestrel than regular birth control pills typically do, but this progestin has been safely used in both emergency contraception and combination birth control pills for decades.

When Should I Use the My Way Morning-After Pill?

My Way can be taken at any time during your monthly cycle. It is meant to be used as emergency birth control if you have had sex without using any contraception or if you believe that birth control failure might have happened (such as your partner didn’t put on a condom correctly, you missed too many birth control pills, you miscalculated your fertile days, etc.).

My Way should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. That being said, you should try to use My Way as soon as possible because it is most effective the sooner you take it.

*Note: emergency birth control, in general, has been shown to still be effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex, so it may still be useful to use the My Way morning-after pill for up to 120 hours.

How to Use My Way

It is very easy to use the My Way pill. Each package of My Way comes with a set of directions. After you have read the directions, all you need to do is swallow the one pill. You can take the My Way pill at any time during the day—just remember that you should try to use it as soon as possible. You may get nauseous after taking My Way. If you throw-up within two hours of taking the My Way pill, it is a good idea to call your doctor to find out if you should take another pill.

How Does My Way Morning-After Pill Work?

Even though not everybody agrees exactly on how the My Way pill works, it is generally believed that the progestin in My Way works to prevent pregnancy in a similar way that birth control pills do—mainly that it helps to prevent ovulation. The FDA has required the manufacturer of My Way Morning-After Pill to indicate on its product labeling that this emergency contraceptive may also work by preventing a fertilized egg to implant to the uterine wall. It should be noted, though, that current research on levonorgestrel-based emergency contraception suggests that My Way does not appear to affect implantation.

    What the My Way Pill is Not

    The morning-after pill is often confused with the abortion pill. My Way is a completely different drug than RU486, so it will not cause a medical abortion. This also means that the My Way morning-after pill will not be effective if you are already pregnant when you use it. My Way will not terminate or affect an established pregnancy.

    The My Way morning-after pill is not intended for routine birth control use, so you should not rely on My Way as your primary form of contraception. After you take My Way, this morning-after pill will not continue to offer you pregnancy protection throughout the rest of your cycle.

    Fertility (your ability to become pregnant) is likely to quickly return after using My Way, so it is very important that you continue to use your regular birth control method or start using a backup method. If you have unprotected sex after you have taken My Way, this morning-after pill will not provide you with any additional pregnancy protection.

    Where Can I Buy the My Way Morning-After Pill?

    The court case Tummino v. Hamburg paved the way for Plan B One-Step and it's generic equivalents to be sold over-the-counter, with no age restrictions.

    So, the My Way morning-after pill is now sold over-the-counter, without a prescription, for people of any age (no proof of age is required). Due to FDA requirements, the My Way package must state that it is intended for use in women 17 years of age or older; but this is just a formality—one-pill levonorgestrel emergency contraception has been shown to be safe for all ages of women. The FDA required this information to be included on the label as a way to protect the exclusivity agreement with the manufacturer of Plan B One-Step.

    Even though the My Way pill has OTC status, you may still need a prescription (no matter your age) in order for your insurance to cover the cost of this medication, so be sure to check your policy's rules.

    Because the My Way morning-after pill effectiveness is based on how quickly you use it, it may be a wise idea to call your pharmacy/drug store before you go to make sure that they have My Way in stock. You could save even more time if you buy My Way ahead of time, so you can have it handy as soon as you may need it.

    How Much Does My Way Cost?

    Typically, the My Way morning-after pill costs about 14 percent less than its branded counterpart Plan B One-Step (which can cost anywhere from $35 to $65). The average price for Plan B One-Step is around $48, and the average cost for My Way is $41 (though prices for this generic morning-after pill range from $26 to $62).

    What are the Common Side Effects for the My Way Pill?

    The My Way morning-after pill has been shown to be a safe emergency contraceptive option for most women when used properly. The most common side effects of My Way include:

    • Heavier periods
    • Being nauseous
    • Stomach pain
    • Tiredness
    • Headache
    • Dizziness

    The My Way morning-after pill may also cause changes in your menstrual cycle. After using My Way, your next period may be lighter or heavier than normal. You may also have spotting/bleeding before your next period. The My Way pill may also cause your next period to begin earlier or later than when you would normally expect it to occur (though most women seem to begin their period within seven days of their expected time).

    What is the Effectiveness of My Way?

    My Way is most effective the sooner you use it. Overall, the My Way morning-after pill is about 84 percent effective in reducing the chance of pregnancy. The effectiveness of this morning-after pill is calculated based on the probability of conception (by comparing the timing you had sex in relation to your predicted ovulation). The effectiveness of the My Way morning-after pill becomes less effective with time: it is thought to be 95 percent effective if taken within 24 hours, 85 percent effective if taken within 25-48 hours, and 58 percent effective if taken between 49-72 hours.

    Research studies have also shown that the expected pregnancy rate of 8 percent (with no use of any birth control) is lowered to around 1.5 percent if you use My Way within 24 hours and 2.6 percent if My Way is taken 48-72 hours after unprotected sex/contraception failure.

    How Do I Know if the My Way Morning-After Pill Worked?

    The only way to know for certain that the My Way pill has successfully prevented you from becoming pregnant is if your period begins at it’s expected time or within seven days of when you expected it to start.

    If your period is more than a week late, it may be possible that you are pregnant. If you suspect that this is the case, you can take a home pregnancy test to either rule out or confirm a pregnancy as well as follow up with your doctor.

    There is a small link between progestin-only contraceptives and ectopic pregnancies. So, if you have taken the My Way morning-after pill, your period is late, and you are experiencing severe lower abdominal pain (around 3 to 5 weeks after taking My Way), you should call your doctor immediately to determine if you have an ectopic pregnancy.

    Does the My Way Morning-After Pill Provide Any STI Protection?

    My Way does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections or HIV.

    Sources:

    Gemzell-Danielsson K, Rabe T, Cheng L. "Emergency contraception." Gynecological Endocrinology. March 2013; 29(S1):1-14. 

    Koyama A, Hagopian L, Linden, J. "Emerging options for emergency contraception." Clin Med Insights Reprod Health. 2013; 7:23–35. 

    Marions L, Hultenby K, Lindell I, Sun X, Stabi B, & Gemzell-Danielsson K. "Emergency contraception with mifepristone and levonorgestrel: Mechanism of action." Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2002; 100(1):65-71. 

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