Morning After Pill

Emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill, works to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. If you have had unprotected sex (for example, if the condom has split or you forgot to take your usual contraceptive), the morning after pill can act as a backup and stop you from getting pregnant. You can now buy the morning after pill online and no longer need a face to face consultation with your doctor. If you have had unprotected sex and want to prevent pregnancy by taking the morning after pill, choose form our list of Morning after pills below:

Morning After Pill

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  1. Levonelle 1500 (Levonorgestrel)
    Levonelle 1500 (Levonorgestrel)
    From As low as £16.99
    • Morning after pill
    • Can be used up to 72 hours after unprotected sex
    • UK next day delivery
  2. ellaOne
    From As low as £22.99
    • Emergency Contraception or "Morning after Pill"
    • Can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex
    • 98% effective at preventing pregnancy

What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception. It is a single tablet that is prescribed after unprotected sex to stop pregnancy from occurring. There are two emergency contraception pills available in the UK, and Medicine Direct sell both. Levonelle 1500 is one of two morning after pills and contains a man-made version of progesterone, which is a natural hormone made by the ovaries. It stops or delays the release of the egg, meaning that ovulation does not occur and therefore pregnancy does not occur. ellaOne is also a comonly used morning after pill and contains ulipristal acetate, which stops the same natural hormone, progesterone, from working as it should. As with Levonelle, it stops or delays the release of the egg and ovulation does not occur.

How the morning after pill works

The emergency contraceptive pill works by stopping the release of the egg. This means that the sperm cannot reach the egg and ovulation cannot take place. However, if ovulation has already occurred, the pill will not be effective.

The morning after pill is 95% effective when taken within 24 hours after having unprotected sex. Taking the contraception pill between 24 and 48 hours after having unprotected will be 85% effective; when taken between 48 and 72 hours after, it is 58% effective. For this reason, you should aim to take the morning after pill as soon as you possibly can after having sexual intercourse; the sooner you take it, the more effective it will be.

When you should use the morning after pill

The morning after pill is most effective when taken immediately after unprotected sex. It becomes less effective as time goes on. Levonelle must be taken within 3 days, or 72 hours, of unprotected sex. ellaOne must be taken within 5 days, or 120 hours, after unprotected sex. No emergency contraceptive is 100% effective; however, the pill can be up to 95% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken as soon as possible.

STIs and the morning after pill

Please note that, while the emergency contraceptive pill can help to prevent pregnancy, it cannot protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To protect yourself from STIs, you will still need to use a condom when you have sex.

If you have had unprotected sex and fear you may have a sexually transmitted infection, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible after having sex. Alternatively, you can visit a sexual health clinic and speak to a nurse about your STI symptoms or concerns.

Medicine Direct sells various treatments for the likes of gonorrhoea and genital warts. If you are suffering from these infections, you can purchase treatment from our online pharmacy following an online consultation with one of our doctors. All of our doctors are registered with the General Medical Council, meaning they are legally qualified to prescribe medicine just like your local GP.

Side effects of the morning after pill

The morning after pill’s side effects are likely to be different for everyone. Some may not experience any at all, but others may experience some of the following:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Increase in breast size
  • Abrupt weight loss or weight gain
  • Abrupt mood swings
  • Disturbed menstrual cycle

The morning after pill should not be used in place of your normal contraceptive pill, such as the IUD or the pill. ellaOne can cause negative side effects if taken regularly, as this would be an overdose of the recommended safe amount. Therefore, women are advised to switch to other contraception pills.

What morning after pills are available?

There are two morning after pills available in the UK; Levonelle and ellaOne.

ellaOne must be taken within 5 days, or 120 hours, after having unprotected sex, though is it more effective the sooner it is taken. It works by preventing egg release during the ovulation period. Just as the contraceptive pill prevents the ovaries from releasing the egg, in turn preventing pregnancy, ellaOne works in the same way. It comes as one 30mg dose. Medicine Direct sells packs of one, two and three tablets. One tablet costs £29.99. The average price for one ellaOne tablet on the UK high street is £35.

Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, though is it more effective the sooner it is taken. It works just the same as ellaOne; by preventing egg release during the ovulation period. Levonelle comes as one 1.5mg dose. Medicine Direct sells packs of one tablet of 1.5mg. The Levonelle morning after pill cost is £25.00 from Medicine Direct.

Where can I get the morning after pill from?

Emergency contraception pills can be bought from certain pharmacies after speaking to the pharmacist. Contraception clinics, sexual health or GUM clinics, or your local GP are other options.

You can buy the morning after pill from Medicine Direct following an online consultation with one of our registered doctors. Simply fill out our online questionnaire and one of our doctors will prescribe you the most appropriate emergency contraception for your needs.

If you order by 2pm, we can offer you free next day delivery, so whether your emergency contraceptive pill needs to be taken within 72 hours or 120 hours, you will have plenty of time to take it.

Who can take the morning after pill?

Emergency contraception should be taken by women who have either had unprotected sex or who have used contraception that has failed, such as a condom ripping. It should not be taken to prevent STIs and should not be used as a prevention against pregnancy on a regular basis.
If you need to use the pill regularly, you should speak to your doctor about more appropriate forms of long-term contraception you can use.
The emergency contraception pill is safe for most women to take, including women who cannot use hormonal contraception and girls under the age of 16. However, if you are allergic to the contraceptive pill or any of its ingredients, you may not be suitable to take it. Make sure your doctor or pharmacist is aware if you have severe asthma or take any medicines that may interact with the pill.
These include: Medicines that make your stomach less acidic; Medicines to treat HIV, tuberculosis (TB) or epilepsy; Medicines that contain St John's Wort; Certain antibiotics, such as rifabutin or rifampicin. If you are already taking one of these medicines, you should not use ellaOne.
Levonelle may still be effective, although you may require a higher dose.

How effective is the morning after pill?

The earlier you take the pill, the more effective it is likely to be. When taken within the first 24 hours, emergency contraception pills can prevent 95% of pregnancies. When taken between 24 and 48 hours later, it is 85% effective. When taken between 48 and 72 hours later, it is 58% effective.

How do I take the morning after pill?

Levonelle and ellaOne have different time limits as to when they need to be taken, although whichever pill you are prescribed, you should always take it as soon as possible.
You need to take Levonelle within 3 days of having unprotected sex for it to still work. With ellaOne, you must take it within 5 days of having unprotected sex for it to be effective. Emergency contraception should not be taken regularly. If you fear you are pregnant on a regular basis, you should speak to a doctor or sexual health nurse about a form of contraception that is safe for you to use on a regular basis, such as the patch.

How does the morning after pill work?

The morning after pill works by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs during ovulation. This significantly decreases the chance of a fertilised egg being implanted in the womb. When taken within 24 hours, the contraception pill is 95% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy. The sooner you take the pill after having unprotected sex, the more effective it will be.

Will the morning after pill protect me from STIs?

The morning after pill is an emergency form of contraception. However, it will not prevent you from catching any STIs; you will still need to use a condom if you are worried about catching an STI. If you have had unprotected sex and fear you may have an STI, speak to your doctor or a sexual health clinic as soon as possible.

Where can I get contraceptive advice?

Contraception and sexual health advice is available from a variety of sources, including: Your local GP; Community contraception clinics; GUM clinics; Sexual health clinics (these usually offer contraception and STI tests); Young person's advice services.

Doctor Notes

Medicine Direct have an experienced clinical team of doctors, pharmacists and dispensers, all of whom are based in the UK. All are fully trained and qualified to provide appropriate and considered care across all areas of treatment we have available at our online pharmacy.

This means that no matter which member of our team is assigned to your case, you can rest assured that you are in the hands of a highly skilled medical professional, who possesses the compassion and clinical expertise to properly advise you on the best course of treatment.

We are fully regulated

All of our doctors and pharmacists are fully registered with both the General Medical Council (GMC), MHRA and the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC). Each member of our team has also worked in various clinic settings in the past, such as community pharmacies and NHS hospitals.

Medicine Direct Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Superintendent Pharmacist

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

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