What You Need to Know About Next Choice One Dose

Take This Morning-After Pill Within 3 Days of Sex

Next Choice One Dose is an emergency contraceptive (EC) pill that can lower your chance of getting pregnant if it's taken within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex or birth control failure. There are many misconceptions regarding this morning-after pill, including how it works and when it can prevent pregnancy. The most important thing to understand, however, is that it cannot terminate a pregnancy.

Next Choice box and pills on a green background
VeryWellHealth / Dawn Stacey

Next Choice One Dose can be purchased over the counter with no age restrictions. It was FDA-approved as emergency contraception on July 13, 2012. Next Choice One Dose is the generic equivalent to Plan B One-Step.

What Is It? 

Next Choice One Dose is a single pill. Just like Plan B One-Step, the Next Choice pill contains 1.5 mg of the progestin levonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel has been safely used in many brands of birth control pills for over 35 years. 

To prevent any confusion, a previous version of this emergency contraception was known simply as Next Choice. This was available by prescription for women under 17-years-old and without a prescription for older women, though you had to ask for it at the pharmacy. Unlike Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice required taking two 0.75 mg pills within 12 hours of one another.

When Plan B One-Step was released it replaced the brand's two-pill dosage. Next Choice soon followed suit and released Next Choice One Dose. The one-pill offerings of either Plan B or Next Choice are just as effective and the same dosage as the previous two-pill options.

How It Works

The levonorgestrel hormone in Next Choice One Dose is the primary ingredient that helps to prevent pregnancy, but there's some debate over exactly how this medication works. Next Choice One Dose contains a higher dose of levonorgestrel than the pill, so it's believed that this morning-after pill works in some of the same ways as the pill to stop pregnancy.

The product labeling (required by the FDA) explains that Next Choice One Dose may work by preventing a fertilized egg to attach (implant) to the wall of the uterus. But most of the current research shows that this type of morning-after pill has no impact on implantation.

What It Is Not

While there may be some confusion over how Next Choice One Dose works, there is no questioning the fact that it will not work if you are already pregnant. It has been proven that this morning-after pill will not harm or terminate an existing pregnancy. This means that Next Choice One Dose is NOT the same thing as the abortion pill, and it won't cause a medical abortion. 

Also, Next Choice One Dose should not be used for regular contraception use. It is very important that you understand that Next Choice One Dose will not continue to prevent pregnancy during the rest of your cycle. If you have unprotected sex after taking Next Choice One Dose, it will not help protect you from getting pregnant. You must use another birth control method for pregnancy protection.

When and Why to Use It 

You can use Next Choice One Dose at any time during your monthly cycle to help prevent an unplanned pregnancy. There are several reasons why you may decide to use Next Choice One Dose and the main reason being that your contraception fails.

You may want to use Next Choice One Dose if:

After looking at that list, it seems like a lot of things can go wrong. The good news is that most of the time, contraception use is smooth sailing. But, it's helpful to know that you have options.

Remember though, if you have unprotected sex or contraceptive failure, you only have a few days to try to prevent pregnancy. The sooner you can use Next Choice One Dose, the better it will work. It should be taken as soon as possible, but not later than 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex or birth control failure.

Emergency birth control, in general, can be used up to five days after unprotected sex. It may still be useful to use Next Choice One Dose for up to 120 hours.

How to Buy and Use It 

Next Choice One Dose can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription, no matter your age. Due to FDA requirements, the label on Next Choice One Dose must say that it is intended for use in women 17 years of age or older. This type of morning-after pill has been shown to be safe for all ages of women. The FDA requires this labeling information as a way to protect an exclusivity agreement with the manufacturer of Plan B One-Step.

When buying Next Choice One Dose, keep these tips in mind:

  • Even though Next Choice One Dose 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. Be sure to check your insurance policy.
  • Because you don't want to waste any time, it may also be a good idea to call your pharmacy before you go to make sure that they have Next Choice One Dose in stock. 
  • Since Next Choice One Dose works best the sooner you take it, it might also be a good idea to buy some ahead of time so you can take it immediately if needed.

Next Choice is easy to use. Just pop the pill out of its blister pack and swallow it. Despite the name "morning-after pill," you can use it at any time during the day.

Side Effects

When used as directed, Next Choice One Dose is a safe emergency birth control option for most women. The most common reported side effects are:

  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea or feeling sick to your stomach
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fatigue or feeling tired
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Delay of period

You may start to feel sick to your stomach and/or throw up after taking Next Choice One Dose. If you throw up within 2 hours of taking this morning-after pill, call your healthcare provider and ask if you should take another dose.

Your Period

Frequent use of Next Choice One Dose may cause your periods to become irregular and unpredictable. If you use Next Choice One Dose, you may have spotting or bleeding before your next period. Plus, your next period may be heavier or lighter or it may come earlier or later than expected. Most women will have their next period at its expected time, or within a week of that expected time.

If your period is more than seven days late, it's possible that you may be pregnant. If you think this is the case, take a pregnancy test to either rule out or confirm a pregnancy. You should also follow up with your healthcare provider.


The sooner you take Next Choice One Dose, the more effective it will be. Researchers point out the difficulty in accurately gauging the effectiveness of morning-after pills. For instance, women may not know their exact timing within their cycle and placebos in trials would be unethical. 

However, studies do tend to see a high effectiveness rate with levonorgestrel emergency contraceptives such as Next Choice One Dose. Planned Parenthood, for instance, states that your chance of getting pregnant lowers by 78 percent to 89 percent with a morning-after pill such as Plan B One Step, Next Choice One Dose, Take Action, My Way, or AfterPill. That is if you take it within three days of unprotected sex.

Some concerns have also been raised regarding the effectiveness of emergency contraceptives in women who are over a certain weight. In 2016, the FDA noted, "Current information about whether levonorgestrel (LNG) emergency contraceptives (ECs) work as well in women who weigh more than 165 pounds or have a BMI above 25 kg/m2 is conflicting and limited."

In any case, all of the sources agree that the effectiveness of Next Choice One Dose decreases as time goes on and that taking it within 72 hours is your best course of action.

STD Protection

Next Choice One Dose does not provide any protection against sexually transmitted infections or HIV.

A Word From Verywell

While Next Choice One Dose is a common choice among morning-after pills, it is not fool proof and may not prevent all pregnancies. It can offer you the same protection as Plan B One-Step, though it's also best not to rely on it in place of other birth control methods which are proven to be more effective.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Trussell J, Raymond EG, Cleland K. Emergency contraception: A last chance to prevent unintended pregnancyContemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice.

  2. FDA. Plan B (0.75mg levonorgestrel) and Plan B One-Step (1.5 mg levonorgestrel) tablets information.

  3. FDA. Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) [package insert].

  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Levonorgestrel. MedlinePlus.

  5. Cleland K, Raymond EG, Westley E, Trussell J. Emergency contraception review: evidence-based recommendations for cliniciansClin Obstet Gynecol. 2014;57(4):741–750. doi:10.1097/GRF.0000000000000056

  6. Planned Parenthood. What's the plan B morning-after pill

  7. FDA. Plan B: health care professional questions and answers.

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.