Emergency Contraception (EC) involves birth control methods that can be used after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Often called “The morning-after pill”, the intention is to disrupt or delay ovulation or fertilisation, which is necessary for conception to occur. This form of medication is not to be confused with abortion pills, as the ovulation process is delayed, so nothing is aborted. No contraceptive can be 100% effective, and the morning-after pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex has occurred.
Types of morning-after pill
There are two main brands of emergency contraception pill. They are EllaOne and Levonelle. The most popular is Levonelle, which must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Its effectiveness decreases over time with approximate percentages as follows,
- 95% effective if taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex
- 85% effective if taken between 12 – 24 hours after unprotected sex
- 75% effective if taken within 24 – 48 hours of unprotected sex
- 58% effective if taken between 48 – 72 hours of unprotected sex
EllaOne has a longer effectivity window, and can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, although to increase the chances of success, it should be taken as soon as possible. A reputable online pharmacy such as Lloyds Pharmacy can shed light on this. EllaOne should be taken as a single tablet, and has a 95% effectiveness throughout the 5-day window. It can only be taken once during the same menstrual cycle, and has been known to disrupt regular contraception.
Side effects are uncommon but could include,
- Irregular bleeding
- Severe headaches
- Stomach pains
EllaOne (ulipristal acetate) works over a much longer period than Levonelle, yet they are both equally effective during the first 12 hours after unprotected sex.
Important points to remember
There are a number of factors that can either weaken, or inhibit the drug’s action. They are,
- Vomiting – The morning after pill is known to cause nausea, and if you vomit before the active ingredients have been absorbed into your body, the pill will not work. If this happens, you should consult a doctor who can advise you as to whether you should take another dose.
- High Body Mass Index (BMI) – According to research, a high BMI may affect the performance of the morning-after pill. EllaOne is more effective for treating a woman with high BMI.
- Other medication – The morning-after pill should not be taken if you are taking certain medications. You should advise your doctor about any medications you are currently using before taking the morning-after pill.
Existing health issues
You should not take the morning-after pill if you have the following conditions,
- Liver disease
- Stomach problems that may affect digestion
- Certain allergies or hormone deficiencies
The morning-after pill is an emergency form of contraception, and should not be used as a main form of contraception. Should you need to take this type of medication, time is of the essence, so contact a reputable online pharmacy that can quickly prescribe the right type of pill for you.