- Emergency Contraception or "Morning after Pill"
- Can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex
- 98% effective at preventing pregnancy
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What is ellaOne?
ellaOne is an emergency contraceptive or 'morning after pill', which is available to buy without a prescription.
It can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex, which is a long time frame for an emergency contraceptive.
It is one of the most commonly prescribed morning after pills in the UK with others including:
What is ellaOne used for?
ellaOne is one of three morning after pills available online in the UK. It is widely prescribed as an emergency contraception after unprotected sex if there is a risk that this may lead to pregnancy. ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex, although it is most effective when taken as soon as possible after sex.
As long as it is taken within the necessary time period, ellaOne is thought to be up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. This makes it the most effective morning after pill available in the UK.
ellaOne pills contain the active ingredient ulipristal acetate, which works to prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg during the ovulation period. It also reduces the risk of eggs which may already be in the womb from being fertilised by your partner's sperm.
It comes available in a standard dose of 30mg and can be taken at any point during the menstrual cycle.
Who can take ellaOne?
ellaOne may not be suitable for all women to take.
Do not take this pill if you are allergic to ulipristal acetate or any of the other ingredients contained in this medicine (refer to the Ingredients tab for full details).
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you purchase ellaOne if any of the following apply to you:
- You suffer from severe liver disease
- Your period is late or you are exhibiting symptoms of pregnancy, such as morning sickness or heavy breasts
- You have severe asthma
All women should take an emergency contraception as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. A study found that ellaOne may be less effective in women with obesity. Nonetheless, this research is inconclusive, so ellaOne is still recommended for all women.
This medication contains lactose, so if your doctor has told you that you are intolerant to certain sugars, you should not take it without speaking to them first.
If you have any concerns about taking a contraception pill, you are advised to discuss these issues with a doctor or pharmacist.
If you take the tablet and still become pregnant, it is very important that you speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, ellaOne comes with the risk of certain side effects, although not all women get them.
Common side effects may affect up to 1 in 10 women who take it:
- Headaches, mood swings, dizziness
- Pelvic pain, painful periods, breast tenderness
- Nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort, vomiting.
- Muscle pain, tiredness, back pain
Less common side effects may affect up to 1 in 100 people and include:
- Hot flushes
- Acne, lesions of the skin, itching
- Changes in appetite
- Unusual or irregular vaginal bleeding
- Heavy or prolonged periods
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Vaginal irritation or discharge
- Changes in your sex drive
- Emotional disorders
- Anxiety or agitation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Visual disturbances
- Fever, chills, malaise
Speak to your doctor if any of the above symptoms bother you or do not go away.
Please note, these lists are not exhaustive. Please, refer to the Side Effects tab on this page for a list of rarer and more serious reactions you may suffer.
Always read the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of reactions.
ellaOne Indications and Dose
All of our Doctors and Pharmacists follow NICE guidelines when prescribing ellaOne.
Always take ellaOne exactly as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Read the patient information leaflet before taking it. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice if you are unsure of how to take ellaOne.
ellaOne should be taken as soon as possible after you have had unprotected sex. It must be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of having sex.
You can take ellaOne at any point during your menstrual cycle, and it can be taken at any point in the day, either with or without food.
If you vomit after taking it
If you vomit within 3 hours of taking ellaOne, this may mean the pill will not work. Take another pill as soon as possible if this happens.
If you have sex again after taking it
You will not be protected from pregnancy if you have sex again after taking this medication.
To avoid becoming pregnant, you must use a condom every time you have sex in between the time you take the tablet and the time your next period comes.
What if I take too much?
If you take more ellaOne than you are supposed to, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
There are no known harmful effects associated with taking an overdose of this medication, but you should still seek advice.
If your next period is late
Once you have taken this morning after pill, it is normal for your next period to be late by a few days.
If your period is late by more than 7 days; if it is unusually light or heavy; or if you have any of the below symptoms, you may be pregnant:
- Abdominal pain
- Breast tenderness
- Nausea or vomiting
Do a pregnancy test as soon as possible if you do experience any of these symptoms. If you are pregnant, you should speak to your doctor straight away.
ellaOne Side Effects
Rarer side effects of taking ellaOne may affect 1 in every 1,000 women and could include:
- Feeling thirsty
- Loss of concentration
- Red eye, sensitivity to light, or unusual sensation in the eyes
- Dry throat or a change in taste
Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Serious allergic reaction
If you exhibit any of the below symptoms, you may be having a serious allergic reaction to ellaOne. You must either go to A&E or call 999 immediately if you exhibit any of the following, as you may require immediate treatment in hospital:
- You have tightness in your chest or throat
- You are finding it difficult to speak or breathe
- You have swelling in your face, mouth, tongue, lips, or throat
- You have a skin rash that may be red, itchy, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin
- You are wheezing
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, for more information, you should always read the Patient Information Leaflet before taking this medicine.
ellaOne Warnings and drug interactions
Before taking a morning after pill like ellaOne, it is very important that you inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are already taking any other medicine. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, herbal remedies and supplements.
Some medicines can interact with the morning after pill and risk making it less effective.
If you have used any of the below in the last 4 weeks, ellaOne may be less effective or unsuitable for you to take. Inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are currently taking or have recently taken:
- Any herbal remedies that contain St. John's Wort
- A medicine for the treatment of fungal infections (griseofulvin)
- Any medicines to treat HIV, such as ritonavir, efavirenz, or nevirapine
- Any medicines to treat epilepsy, such as primidone, phenobarbital, phenytoin, fosphenytoin, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine and barbiturates
- Any medicines to treat tuberculosis, such as rifampicin and rifabutin
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if your period is late before taking ellaOne. They will need to make sure you are not already pregnant.
This medicine is used to prevent pregnancy, but it will not interrupt an existing pregnancy.
If you become pregnant even when you take this medicine, there is no evidence to show that it will affect your pregnancy. Nonetheless, you should still speak to your doctor as soon as you can; they will want to check that the pregnancy is not outside the womb. This is particularly vital if any of the following apply to you:
- You have pain or bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain
- You have previously had a pregnancy outside the womb
- You have previously had tubal surgery or a chronic genital infection
Pregnancy may occur after taking ellaOne, it is not 100% effective at stopping pregnancy. Although no teratogenic potential has been reported from ellaOne, there is not enough data to suggest that ellaOne is harmful in pregnancy.
It is important that any pregnancy that occurs after the intake of ellaOne is reported to http://www.hra-pregnancy-registry.com/en/. The registry is an ongoing study designed to collect information from women who have taken ellaOne during pregnancy or have fell pregnant after taking it.
ellaOne is excreted into the breastmilk, the effect that this has on the newborn/infant is not yet known. It is generally widely recommended not to take this medicine when breastfeeding.
If you are breastfeeding at the time you take this morning after pill, do not breastfeed for one week after taking it.
To maintain breast milk you should use a breast pump during that week, but do not give this milk to your baby, throw it away.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
ellaOne will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as syphilis, chlamydia, or gonorrhoea.
To ensure you are protected from STDs, you should always use a condom when you have sex.
If you have any concerns that you may have caught an STD from having unprotected sex, you should speak to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or a sexual health clinic as soon as you can.
The main active ingredient within this medicine is: Ulipristal acetate
For a full list of the inactive ingredients, please read the Summary of Product Characteristics
How it works - get your medicine in 3 simple steps
- 1 Choose your treatment Select the treatment or medication you need and answer a few questions online regarding your condition.
- 2 Online consultation Our Independent Prescribers will review your questions and assess your suitability for the medication.
- 3 Receive your delivery Your medication is dispensed and delivered directly to you from our UK based Pharmacy.