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What is ellaOne®?
ellaOne® is an emergency contraception pill or ‘morning after pill’ and is taken following unprotected sex to prevent unplanned pregnancy. ellaOne® is a birth control medication for women, which contains the active ingredient ulipristal acetate, which works by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary so that fertilisation by sperm does not occur. ellaOne® should be taken within 5 days (120 hours) following unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. ellaOne®, like other forms of emergency contraception, is more effective at preventing pregnancy when taken sooner rather than later.
How does ellaOne® work to prevent unplanned pregnancy?
ellaOne® works by preventing or delaying the release of the egg from the ovaries, this means it cannot be fertilised by sperm. The active ingredient in ellaOne®, ulipristal acetate, modifies the activity of the natural female hormone progesterone to prevent or delay ovulation until all the sperm have died (approximately 5 days). ellaOne® is effective when taken within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sex. The ellaOne® pill does not interfere with other regular methods of contraception.
How effective is ellaOne® at preventing unplanned pregnancy?
The overall effectiveness of ellaOne® is approximately 98%. This means that out of 100 women that take ellaOne®, approximately 2 women will become pregnant. It is important to take ellaOne® as soon as possible as it’s effectiveness decreases over time.
It is important to note that you do not need to wait until the morning after to take ellaOne® as the ‘morning after pill’ phrase may suggest.
How do I take ellaOne®?
Take one ellaOne® pill at any time, swallow the pill whole with water. You can take ellaOne® at any time during your menstrual cycle. ellaOne® should be taken as soon as possible following unprotected sex to maximise its effectiveness.
After 5 days (120 hours) have passed, the efficacy of ellaOne® is unknown and the ellaOne® tablet may be entirely ineffective. If you want to take emergency contraception after this length of time, you should consult your GP for additional contraceptive advice. If you have unprotected sex after taking ellaOne®, it will not prevent pregnancy.
If you vomit or have diarrhoea within 3 hours of taking the ellaOne® pill, it may not have been absorbed properly which can compromise its efficacy. Therefore, you should seek professional advice from a pharmacist or GP and obtain additional emergency contraception.
What is the difference between ellaOne® and Levonelle (Levonorgestrel)?
The main difference between ellaOne® and Levonelle (Levonorgestrel) is that ellaOne® contains the active ingredient ulipristal acetate, whereas, Levonelle (Levonorgestrel) contains the active ingredient Levonorgestrel. ellaOne® works to modify the role of progesterone whereas, Levonelle (Levonorgestrel) works to mimic the role of progesterone. The effect is the same, both morning after pills aim to prevent or delay ovulation to avoid pregnancy.
Another key difference is the length of time each emergency contraception pill is effective for. ellaOne® is effective for 5 days (120 hours) whereas, Levonelle (Levonorgestrel) is effective for 3 days (90 hours). For both medications, it is important to take the pill as early as possible to ensure greater effectiveness.
What are the side effects of ellaOne?
Like all medication, you may experience side effects.
Common side effects from taking ellaOne include:
- Painful periods
- Pelvic pain
- Mood swings
- Back pain, muscle pain
- Headache, dizziness
- Tender breasts
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.