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What is ellaOne?
ellaOne is an emergency contraceptive or 'morning after pill'. 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 used morning after pills in the UK, with others including:
You can buy ellaOne from your local pharmacy, although you will need to speak to a pharmacist or doctor first.
What is ellaOne used for?
ellaOne is widely prescribed as emergency contraception after unprotected sex if there is a risk that this may lead to unwanted pregnancy. You may be at risk of getting pregnant if you have had unprotected sex, or if your contraception has failed (such as a condom ripping during sex). ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected 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.
How effective is ellaOne?
ellaOne is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. Out of every 100 women who take it, two will become pregnant.
Women who wish to avoid getting pregnant should take an emergency contraception pill as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. A study found that ellaOne may be less effective in women suffering from obesity. Nonetheless, this research is inconclusive, so ellaOne is still recommended for all women.
If you take the tablet and still become pregnant, it is very important that you speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
How does ellaOne work?
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. ellaOne should not be relied upon as a regular form of contraception. It will not protect you from catching sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you buy 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
Read the patient information leaflet for a full list of reasons why ellaOne may be unsuitable for you.
Where can I buy ellaOne over the counter?
You can buy ellaOne over the counter from pharmacies after you have spoken to a doctor or pharmacist. You will still need to answer a few questions before they can give you the morning after pill. Most community pharmacies will allow you to buy ellaOne over the counter.
Can I buy ellaOne online in the UK?
You can buy ellaOne online from Medicine Direct by filling out an online consultation form. One of our registered doctors, pharmacists or prescribers will review your answers to make sure that this medicine is suitable for you to take. If you order by 2pm, we can offer you next day delivery, which will help you to take it as soon as possible.
Levonelle is also available to buy from our online pharmacy. This medication is also highly effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies after unprotected sex or if your contraception fails. However, Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of having sex.
To minimise the risk of unwanted pregnancy, it is best to always use some form of contraceptive protection, such as a condom. Regular contraception such as a combined contraceptive pill or the contraceptive patch are other options.
How to take ellaOne pill
- Take one tablet as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. Do not delay taking it.
- Make sure you take it within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex.
- ellaOne can be taken at any point during the menstrual cycle.
- Swallow the tablet whole with a drink of water.
- You can take ellaOne at any time of the day. It can be taken with or without food.
- If you have unprotected sex once you have taken the tablet, it will not stop you from getting pregnant again. You should use a condom if you do not wish to become pregnant.
- You will need to take another tablet if you vomit within 3 hours of taking it.
Always follow your doctor or pharmacist’s guidance. Read the patient information leaflet before you take ellaOne.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Can I take ellaOne if I am already pregnant?
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 fallen pregnant after taking it.
Can I take ellaOne if I am breastfeeding?
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.
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 much does it cost to buy ellaOne online in the UK?
Dose Quantity Buy Online UK Price 30mg 1 tablet £22.99
Is it unhealthy to take the morning after pill?Taking ellaOne can cause side effects such as nausea or headaches. The morning after pill should not be used as a regular method of contraception; it should only be taken in emergencies.
How will I know if it has worked?You will need to wait for your next period to arrive to know whether ellaOne has worked or not. You should also take a pregnancy test to be certain. If your period is late, speak to your doctor.
Will it work if I take it after 5 days?Unlike most other emergency contraceptive pills, ellaOne does not get less effective as time goes on after having sex. However, you must take it within 5 days (120 hours) of having unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
Will it stop me from getting pregnant for 5 days?No, you should take ellaOne as soon as possible after having unprotected sex if you do not wish to get pregnant. If you have unprotected sex again after taking ellaOne, it will not prevent pregnancy in this instance. To reduce the chance you might get pregnant, you will need to use a condom or other form of contraception.
Will it work if I have already ovulated?Morning after pills are only effective if you take them before ovulation.
Will taking ellaOne cause bleeding?Some spotting may occur within a week of taking ellaOne. You may also experience a lighter or heavier period than usual. This is not a cause for concern, but if it persists or seems to be abnormally heavy, speak to your doctor.
How often can I take it?Do not take more than one dose at once. The morning after pill can be taken more than once in the same menstrual cycle, but it should not be relied upon as your usual contraception method. You should use an approved form of contraception, such as the patch, condoms or the combined contraceptive pill as regular contraception.
Will it make me gain weight?No, it is a myth that the morning after pill causes weight gain.
Is taking one ellaOne pill enough to stop pregnancy?Yes, you should only take one pill as a single dose. Do not take more than one pill, this will not make the medicine more effective.
Medically reviewed by: Sonia Khan MPharm: 2076091
published on: 12/10/2021
Updated on: 27/09/2021
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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