About the morning after pill
The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception which can prevent pregnancy. It needs to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
There are two types of morning after pill available: ellaOne and Levonelle. Both pills contain hormones that prevent a pregnancy from taking place. These are both available through our Online Doctor service.
When to take the morning after pill
The morning after pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
- Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex
- ellaOne must be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex
Both pills are most effective when taken as soon as possible after sex.
Both Levonelle and ellaOne can be taken more than once during your menstrual cycle.
If you need the morning after pill now, you can collect it from one of our pharmacies the same working day, as long as you place your order before 4pm.
Which morning after pill is right for me?
Our clinicians will help you to decide which pill will be most effective for you. This depends on your medical history and circumstances. Your online consultation is a confidential questionnaire that enables our clinicians to understand these factors and help you decide what is best for you.
After all your answers have been reviewed, you’ll receive a message in your Patient Record with a suggested treatment. You’ll then have the opportunity then to ask your clinician any questions directly.
How the morning after pill works
Both types of morning after pill contain hormones that prevent or delay ovulation.
Levonelle contains levonorgestrel, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, which affects your ability to ovulate.
ellaOne contains ulipristal acetate, which stops the progesterone in your body from working normally and delays egg release from the ovary.
Side effects of the morning after pill
As with all medicines, ellaOne and Levonelle can cause some side effects. Neither medicine should affect your fertility in the long term.
The most common side effects for ellaOne include irregular bleeding, headache, nausea, dizziness and abdominal pain.
The most common side effects for Levonelle include headache, nausea, vomiting, tender breasts and irregular bleeding.
Emergency contraception and STIs
Emergency contraception does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you have had sex without a condom and are worried that you might have an STI, our confidential online sexual health clinic provides advice, tests and treatments for a range of STIs.
Alternatively, you could visit your local sexual health clinic or arrange to see your GP.
Other forms of emergency contraception
The most effective form of emergency contraception is the copper coil, also known as an intrauterine device (IUD). This can be fitted by a trained medical professional up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
If you are thinking of opting for a coil, we recommend that you still take the morning after pill, just in case you can’t get a coil fitted in time.
The morning after pill for future use
If you want to avoid pregnancy and think there’s a chance you will have unprotected sex, you can buy the morning after pill for future use through our service.
The most important thing is that you take emergency contraception as soon as possible after you have had unprotected sex. In this respect, ordering in advance and having the pill to hand when you need it can be very helpful. However, you should not rely on this as a method of routine contraception.
Complete your consultation and one of our clinical team will advise which pill will most suit your needs.