How to use Postinor-2 (levonorgestrel), when to take it, dosage, side effects

Keeping up with birth control usage guidelines can be challenging for sexually active people. But, with emergency contraceptives like Postinor-2, you can still be protected on days you mistakenly miss your regular pills.

Black woman taking Postinor 2 pill

Key takeaways:

  • Postinor 2 is an emergency contraceptive pill that contains 0.75 mg of levonorgestrel. It is designed to prevent pregnancy, especially if you take it within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Here's how to take Postinor 2: Ingest the first tablet from the pack immediately after sexual intercourse and then wait for 12 hours to take the second pill. If you take Postinor 2 soon after sex, you have a higher chance of preventing pregnancy.
  • It is not advisable to use Postinor 2 like regular birth control as it can cause side effects, such as disrupting the menstrual cycle, among other side effects. Instead, it is best to speak to your doctor about a contraceptive method that would work best for you.

You may become stressed and overwhelmed on some days, such that you forget to take your regular birth control pill, or you may notice after sex that your condom broke during sex. 

In cases like that, it may become necessary to opt for a morning-after pill to prevent you from getting pregnant. An example of a morning-after pill commonly used in Nigeria is Postinor 2, which you can take after you have had unprotected sex.  

The price of Postinor 2 varies depending on location; however, it is available in different pharmaceutical stores in Nigeria. But many people don't know how to take Postinor 2 or how the pill works.

This article will discuss all about Postinor 2, how to take postinor 2, its dosage, and its side effects. It will also discuss how Postinor 2 works, when you should take it, and who shouldn’t take it.

How best to take Postinor 2

The best way to take Postinor 2 for increased effectiveness is immediately after unprotected sexual intercourse. There are 2 pills in the Postinor 2 pack. Take one pill from the pack as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse. Wait for 12 hours before you take the second Postinor pill. 

Ensure you monitor the time so that you take the second pill 12 hours after the first time. If the 12th hour falls at midnight, you may need to set the alarm to wake you up so you can take the pill.

If you could not take the first Postinor pill immediately after sex, still take it even if it is up to 24 hours later. Its chances of working reduce as time passes, but it is still effective for up to 72 hours (or more) after intercourse.

Taking Postinor 2 within 24 hours after unprotected sex is 95% effective at preventing pregnancies; if taken between 48-72 hours after sex, its effectiveness reduces to 58%.

If you vomited within 3 hours of taking Postinor 2, you may need to take another pill as you may have thrown up the pill when it hasn't done its work. If you miss your period after a few weeks, take a pregnancy test to check if you are pregnant.

Postinor 2 is not recommended for children under 16 years of age.

What is Postinor 2?

Postinor 2 is a brand-name emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse. Postinor 2 is also called Plan B or morning-after pill. 

Postinor 2 contains levonorgestrel as an active agent. Unlike its one-pill version (called Postinor-1), Postinor 2 contains two pills, both of which are best taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse.

People often mistake emergency contraceptives like Postinor 2 for abortion pills. But, Postinor 2 is not an abortion pill because it is not designed for aborting a baby; rather, it is used to prevent the pregnancy from happening in the first place.

Also, Postinor 2 is not intended as a regular contraception method. Rather, it should only be used to prevent pregnancy in emergency cases such as coerced unprotected sexual intercourse, sexual assault, condom breakage, or other forms of contraceptive failure. 

A 2016 study published in BMC Public Health indicated that many Nigerians were misinformed about emergency contraceptives and relied on unproven and unconventional methods such as the use of “saltwater,” “lime,” and “Ampiclox” to prevent pregnancy.

This is more reason why people need to understand more about emergency contraceptives like Postinor 2, how to take them, and how they work. 

Can you get pregnant after taking Postinor 2?

Yes, it is possible to get pregnant after taking Postinor 2. If you have unprotected sex after taking Postinor 2, you can get pregnant.

Although it decreases the chances of getting pregnant, there is still some chance that a person can get pregnant after taking it. For instance, not taking Postinor 2 immediately after sex reduces its chances of preventing pregnancy. Also, Postinor 2 works by delaying ovulation. This means if you are already in your ovulation, you may get pregnant even after taking Postinor 2.

If you suspect you are pregnant even after taking the pill, do a pregnancy test. And if you have further questions about taking this emergency contraceptive pill, feel free to ask your doctor.

Postinor 2 dosage

Each Postinor 2 tablet contains 0.75 mg of levonorgestrel and other inactive ingredients like magnesium stearate, silica colloidal anhydrous, lactose monohydrate, and maize starch.

You will need to take one pill within 72 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse and then take the second pill 12 hours after taking the first one. 

If you have had unprotected sex multiple times in one menstrual cycle, it is best to seek advice from your healthcare provider regarding the best contraceptive method for you. 

Some clinicians advise against taking more than 4 tablets of Postinor 2 in one menstrual cycle as it can disrupt your menstrual cycle - you may experience heavier or lighter bleeding, or you may see your period earlier or later than usual.

Postinor 2 interactions

Postinor 2 will not interact with your regular birth control pill. However, it can interact with certain medications, such as:

  • Medications for treating epilepsy, e.g., primidone and barbiturates
  • Treatment for HIV
  • Medications for treating tuberculosis, e.g., Rifampicin
  • Herbal remedies

These medications can interfere with how Postinor 2 works, reducing its effectiveness.

How Postinor 2 works

Postinor 2 works in different ways to prevent pregnancy. One way it prevents pregnancy is by delaying ovulation (the release of a mature egg from the ovary). When the egg is not released, there won’t be fertilization and, ultimately, no conception.

Postinor 2 also makes the mucus secreted in the cervix thicker so that sperm cells cannot easily pass through it to fertilize an egg in the uterus. 

Also, according to the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration, “Plan B may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).” This is mostly what brought about the controversy in its use, as people who consider pregnancy to begin with fertilization see it as an abortion pill.

Even though the legal definition of pregnancy says, pregnancy includes the “period of time from implantation until delivery”, not all medical community members agree with this definition. 58% of gynecologists in the U.S. say pregnancy starts with conception, while 28% say it starts with implantation.

Meanwhile, some research doesn’t support the theory that Plan B interferes with implantation.

In fact, some studies indicate that if taken after ovulation, Plan B does not reduce the pregnancy rate, suggesting the medication only affects ovulation and may not interfere with implantation or fertilization after all.

Emergency contraceptive does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Practice safe sex by using physical barriers like condoms and dental dams.

When to take and not take postinor 2

How and when you take Postinor 2 will determine if it will work or not. Also, some events will necessitate using Postinor 2; likewise, it should not be taken in certain circumstances. 

Postinor 2 can be taken when:

  • Your IUD fell out.
  • Your condom slipped off or tore during sex.
  • You experience sexual assault like rape.
  • You skipped taking your regular birth control pill.
  • You had unplanned sex during your fertile period.
  • You used the withdrawal method, (which is not reliable.

Postinor 2 should not be taken if:

  • You have used it before in the same cycle (not advisable).
  • You are pregnant.
  • You are experiencing vaginal bleeding.
  • It has expired, or the medication packaging has been tampered with.

Side effects of Postinor 2

Just like other contraceptives, Postinor 2 can cause some possible side effects. Some people may experience:

  • Spotting within 2-3 days of taking the medication
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Can Postinor 2 work after 4 days?

While initial studies recommend taking Postinor 2 within a 72-hour window, it doesn’t mean it can't work after that. Postinor 2 can work after 4 days. In fact, Postinor 2 can prevent pregnancy for up to 5 days after sexual intercourse.

According to a WebMD report, the 72-hour window was made a standard because that was what initial studies used. However, recent research indicates that plan B emergency contraceptives like Postinor 2 can prevent pregnancy up to 4 or 5 days after sex.

Still, note that the earlier it is taken, the higher the chances of preventing pregnancy.

Effects of Postinor 2 on the womb

Contrary to popular opinion, Postinor 2 does not damage the womb or cause infertility. There is no strong scientific evidence that shows that Postinor 2 affects the womb. However, because it is a hormonal medication, it can alter the female sex hormones, particularly estrogen, and progesterone, causing the delay of ovulation and the thickening of cervical mucus.

This article is not meant to replace medical advice from your healthcare provider. It is only information-based. Always speak with your doctor on all health-related issues, including contraception.

Can you take postinor 2 during your period?

You can take Postinor 2 anytime during your menstrual cycle, including during your period. It doesn’t interfere with the period flow. 

However, you shouldn’t take Postinor 2 if your period is late until you have confirmed that you are not pregnant. 

When to see your doctor

Many people get extremely anxious about taking birth control pills - whether regular or emergency. However, discussing the best option and how to use it with your doctor may go a long way to help.

If you are sexually active and don’t wish to get pregnant, it is best to talk with your doctor about getting a regular contraceptive that is best suited for you, keeping in mind that Postinor 2 should not be used as a regular contraceptive. Contraceptive options they may recommend may include patches, pills, injections, IUDs,s or vaginal rings.

However, if the situation demands that you use Postinor 2, note that it is effective and safe to use, provided that you are not already pregnant and that you took it as instructed. It is also important to speak with your doctor about guidelines for using Postinor 2.

If you notice severe symptoms like intense stomach pain and heavy or extended bleeding after using Postinor 2, see your doctor as soon as possible.