If you are not pregnant and if you are not ready for pregnancy, at this moment you can try to prevent it, i.e. delay it until the time when you are completely ready for pregnancy. It is achieved by taking emergency contraception which is also called the day-after pill or the morning-after pill.

What the day-after pill is?

This is emergency birth control method that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your contraceptive method has failed.

The day-after (aka the morning-after) pill or emergency contraceptive pill does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections.

Only condoms can protect you from sexually transmitted infections such as HIV infection or any other sexually transmitted disease (e.g. chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B and syphilis).

How effective the day-after pill is?

The day-after or emergency contraceptive pill is not effective in every case. In addition, not every emergency contraceptive pill is the same.

ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) is the new emergency contraceptive pill.

ellaOne should be taken as soon as possible after sex, and within a maximum of 5 days (120 hours).

ellaOne is effective: of 100 women who take ellaOne approximately 2 will become pregnant.

ellaOne is a contraceptive used to prevent a pregnancy from starting. If you are already pregnant, it will not interrupt an existing pregnancy.

When to use ellaOne?

ellaOne is a contraceptive intended to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your contraceptive method has failed. For example:

  • if you had sex without protection;
  • if your or your partner’s condom tore, slipped or came off, or if you forgot to use one;
  • if you did not take your contraceptive pill as recommended.

How to use ellaOne?

  • Take one tablet by mouth as soon as possible and no later than 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Take the tablet without delay.
  • You can take ellaOne at any time in your cycle.
  • You can take ellaOne at any time of the day either before, during or after a meal.
  • If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of ellaOne intake, another tablet should be taken.

How ellaOne works?

  • ellaOne contains the substance ulipristal acetate which acts by modifying the activity of the natural hormone progesterone which is necessary for ovulation to occur. As a result, ellaOne works by postponing ovulation. Emergency contraception is not effective in every case. Of 100 women who take ellaOne approximately 2 will become pregnant.

When ellaOne doesn’t work?

    ellaOne is a contraceptive used to prevent a pregnancy from starting. If you are already pregnant, it will not interrupt an existing pregnancy.

When not to use ellaOne?

Do not use ellaOne if you are allergic to ulipristal acetate or any of the other ingredients of ellaOne (lactose, povidone K30, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate).

When to expect next period?

After taking ellaOne, it is normal for your next period to be a few days late.

However, if your period is more than 7 days late; if it is unusually light or unusually heavy; or if you experience symptoms such as abdominal (stomach) pain, breast tenderness, vomiting or nausea, you may be pregnant. You should do a pregnancy test right away. If you are pregnant, it is important that you see your doctor.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, ellaOne can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Some symptoms such as breast tenderness and abdominal (stomach) pain, throwing up (vomiting), feeling sick (nausea) are also possible signs of pregnancy. If you miss your period and experience such symptoms after taking ellaOne, you should do a pregnancy test.

Common side effects are

  • nausea, abdominal (stomach) pain or discomfort, vomiting
  • painful periods, pelvic pain, breast tenderness
  • headache, dizziness, mood swings
  • muscle pain, back pain, tiredness

Other medicines and ellaOne

Some medicines may prevent ellaOne from working effectively. If you have used any of the medicines listed below during the last 4 weeks, ellaOne may be less suitable for you. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist before using ellaOne. Your doctor may prescribe another type of (non-hormonal) emergency contraceptive, i.e. a copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD):

  • arbiturates and other medicines used to treat epilepsy (for example, primidone, phenobarbital, phenytoin, fosphenytoine, carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine)
  • medicines used to treat tuberculosis (for example, rifampicin, rifabutin)
  • a treatment for HIV (ritonavir, efavirenz, nevirapine)
  • a medicine used to treat fungal infections (griseofulvin)
  • herbal remedies containing St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum).

Breast-feeding and ellaOne

If you take ellaOne while you are breastfeeding a baby, do not breast-feed for one week after taking ellaOne. During this time, it is recommended to use a breast pump in order to maintain milk production, but throw away your breast milk. The effect of breastfeeding your baby in the week after taking ellaOne is not known.

How and where to get ellaOne?

ellaOne is available without prescription at pharmacies.

Always read all the package leaflet carefully before you start using ellaOne because it contains important information for you.

You are advised to speak to a healthcare professional if you are concerned about any problems related to taking emergency contraception.

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