Morning after pill

Levonorgestrel

What the packet says

What is it?

Hormonal ingredients

What's it made of?

Povidone K-25, lactose monohydrate, maize starch, colloidal anhydrous silica and magnesium stearate

How it works

The Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill can be used within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex, or if your usual contraceptive method has failed. It is a small tablet that contains hormones that stop your ovaries from releasing an egg, or prevents sperm from fertilising any egg you may have already released.

Frequency

  • During intercourse
  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • 1 - 3 Months
  • 1 - 3 Years
  • 3 - 5 Years
  • Permanent
  • Clinical effectiveness

    84

    %

    Contains hormones

    Yes

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    Detailed information

    How to get started with the morning after pill

    • The morning after pill is not used as a regular form of contraception and should only be taken after unprotected sex for example if a condom breaks or you forget to take your combined pill
    • You can however take emergency contraception more than once in a menstrual cycle if necessary
    • You can get the morning after pill for free from your local sexual health clinic, some GP surgeries, some young people’s clinics, most NHS walk-in centres and pharmacies
    • If you are over 16 you can pay for the morning after pill from most pharmacies, in person or online and from some organisations, such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) or Marie Stopes costing £25 – £35
    • You need to take an emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days of unprotected sex – the sooner you take it, the more effective it will be
    • You should take your next combined / mini pill, apply a new contraceptive patch or insert a new vaginal ring within 12 hours – continue taking your next pill as normal
      • Use additional contraception such as condoms for 7 days if you use the patch, ring, implant, injection or combined pill (except Qlaira), 9 days for the combined pill Qlaira, or 2 days if you use the progesterone only pill
    • A GP or nurse can advice you further on when you can start taking your regular contraception
    • Find out more about how the morning after pill works here

    How to stop

    • The morning after pill is one pill that you take once to stop unwanted pregnancies
    • Emergency contraception doesn’t protect you from future pregnancies – you will need to continue using alternative methods of contraception

    Things that can go wrong

    • The effectiveness of the morning after pill depends on how quickly you take it after sex
    • According to the NHS, 1-2% of women who take the morning after pill after unprotected sex will become pregnant
    • If you are sick within 2 hours of taking emergency contraception, go to your GP, pharmacist or GUM clinic, as you’ll need to take another dose
    • There are no serious or long-term side effects from taking the emergency contraceptive pill. But it can cause headaches, tummy pain, bleeding between periods and vomiting or nausea
    • If you have bleeding or spotting that lasts longer than a week or develop severe lower abdominal pain 3 to 5 weeks after taking the morning after pill, contact your GP – this could indicate a miscarriage
    • You shouldn’t take the morning after pill if you are allergic to its ingredients or taking medication that decrease its effectiveness such as barbiturates or St. John’s wort

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