What is ellaOne?
ellaOne is a morning after pill used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, or after contraception has failed (a condom has split, for example).
What is ellaOne used for?
ellaOne is an emergency contraceptive pill that is effective in preventing pregnancy up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. It uses ulipristal acetate, which blocks the hormone receptors on the ovaries to prevent the release of an egg (ovulation). Ulipristal acetate is also used in lower doses to treat uterine fibroids.
How does ellaOne work?
ellaOne contains an active ingredient called ulipristal acetate. This prevents or delays your ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulating) which means it can't be fertilised by a sperm. This protects you against pregnancy.
ellaOne will not protect you against sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you're concerned about this after unprotected sex or contraception has failed, you can order home STI test kits here.
How to take ellaOne
You should take ellaOne as soon as possible after unprotected sex or contraception failure, but you can take it up to 5 days (120 hours) after.
If you've used any hormonal contraception in the last seven days (such as the contraceptive pill) you cannot use ellaOne. You can use a different morning after pill such as Levonelle or Levonorgestrel instead.
Feel free to contact our clinical team through your online patient record if you have any other questions about how to take ellaOne.
You should take one single tablet of ellaOne (ulipristal acetate 30mg) as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
Is ellaOne effective?
Emergency contraception will not stop pregnancy every time. However ellaOne has proven to be one of the most effective morning after pills.
A 2010 clinical study estimated that around nine in 1,000 women who take ellaOne within 24 hours of unprotected sex will become pregnant. The study estimated that around 23 in 1,000 women who take Levonelle or Levonorgestrel within 24 hours of unprotected sex will become pregnant.
ellaOne will not stop you becoming pregnant if you have unprotected sex after you've taken it or if you take it after ovulation.
The emergency IUD ("copper coil") is the most effective form of contraception with fewer than 1 in 1000 women falling pregnant with this method.
What are the main side effects of ellaOne?
Common side effects of taking ellaOne can include nausea, vomiting and tummy pain. If you're sick within three hours after taking ellaOne, you must take another tablet again as soon as possible.
You might also get some spotting before your next period — which could be earlier or later than usual, but usually within a week of when expected.
For the full information on side effects and how to take your treatment, read the important Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.
Some side effects could also be signs of early pregnancy. We recommend taking a pregnancy test three weeks after unprotected sex, regardless of whether you took emergency contraception.
What else should I know about ellaOne?
If you plan to start the hormonal contraceptive pill, patch or vaginal ring after taking ellaOne, you must wait for 5 days before you take your pill, insert a new ring or apply a new patch. Use additional contraception, such as condoms, during these 5 days.
After you restart your pill, patch or ring, you should continue to use additional contraception:
- for 7 days with the patch, ring or combined pill (9 days if you are using Qlaira)
- for 2 days with the progestogen-only pill
What are alternative emergency contraception treatments?
Levonorgestrel and Levonelle (branded levonorgestrel) are both morning after pills that work in the same way as ellaOne by preventing or delaying the ovaries from releasing an egg. Without ovulation, there is no egg for the sperm to fertilise which prevents you from becoming pregnant.
Levonelle and Levonorgestrel both contain the active ingredient levonorgestrel while ellaOne contains ulipristal acetate.
As with all emergency contraception, you must take any of these morning after pills as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Levonelle and Levonorgestrel must be taken within three days (72 hours) of unprotected sex, and their effectiveness decreases after 12 hours. ellaOne on the other hand can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex and remains consistently effective throughout this time.
What are the non-drug alternatives to ellaOne?
The most effective form of emergency contraception is the IUD ("copper coil"). This can be fitted by a trained doctor or nurse up to 5 days after unprotected sex. It can be fitted after taking oral emergency contraception and can be effective after ovulation has occurred. It can also be used as an effective method of ongoing contraception.
To get an IUD fitted, speak to your GP, Practice Nurse or local sexual health clinic. More information about emergency contraception.
Where can I buy ellaOne?
Get the emergency contraception you need online from Boots Online Doctor. Simply fill out our online questionnaire and, if treatment is suitable for you, you can get it quickly and discreetly. There's no need for a face-to-face discussion and same-day collection is available if you order before 1pm.
Depending on your circumstances, it might be faster to get emergency contraception over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.
The price of ellaOne may vary depending on where you purchase it.
Can I take ellaOne more than once?
If absolutely necessary, it's possible to take the morning after pill more than once in a menstrual cycle. However, it's emergency contraception and not as effective as regular contraception options like the pill, condoms or long acting methods such as the implant, coil, or injection.
If you're using emergency contraception for the third time in three months or less, please discuss with us or your regular GP to find a suitable long-term contraceptive.
You should avoid taking two different types of morning after pill within one cycle as they can affect each other. For example, if you've already taken Levonelle during a cycle, you should avoid taking ellaOne as well.
I've just had a baby — do I need to take ellaOne?
You're not at risk of pregnancy in the first 21 days after having a baby. Read more about your options for contraception after giving birth.
If you have unprotected sex after this, and don't want to fall pregnant, you would need to consider emergency contraception.
Can I breastfeed if I take ellaOne?
You should not breastfeed for 7 days after taking ellaOne. The effect of breastfeeding in the week after taking ellaOne isn't known. If you're breastfeeding and take ellaOne you should pump and discard your breastmilk for 7 days.
What is the age limit for taking ellaOne?
If you're not already menopausal and need to use emergency contraception, the upper age limit for taking ellaOne is generally 55. Please speak to your pharmacist or GP if you need to discuss emergency contraception after this age.
Is Cerazette the same as ellaOne?
ellaOne is an emergency contraceptive which can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
Cerazette is a progestogen-only contraceptive pill that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. Cerazette does not work as emergency contraception.