What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception which can be taken by women up to a maximum of 3 days after unprotected sex or condom failure to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

This morning after pill contains the levonorgestrel, which is a type of progesterone.

How does the morning after pill work?

Levonelle works by delaying or preventing ovulation. Ovulation is when the ovary releases an egg for a sperm to fertilise. It is hard to predict when ovulation will occur as it is different for every woman but it generally occurs round 14 days before your next period is due. Levonelle can also cause a thinning of the womb lining which may make it harder for a fertilised egg to implant.

What is the effectiveness of the morning after pill if taken before ovulation?

Unfortunately the morning after pill is not 100% effective, but if used correctly and quickly it can be effective.

  • If taken within 24 hours of unprotect sexual intercourse it can be up to 95% effective.
  • Up to 85% effective within 48 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • Up to 58% effective within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.

What is the effectiveness of the morning pill if taken after ovulation?

Levonelle has only been demonstrated to be effective before ovulation occurs. You may want to consider EllaOne or a copper coil fitted by your local genitourinary medicine clinic (GUM).

How do I take the morning after pill?

A single tablet should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex (upto 72hrs). The sooner the tablet is taken, the more effective it is likely to be.

For women over 70kg (or with a BMI greater than 26kg/m2) and those on certain medication, two tablets are recommended. This is an off label use. Can be taken with or without food and take another tablet as soon as possible if vomiting occurs with 2 hours.

What are the possible side effects of the morning after pill?

Side effects from levonorgestrel containing medicines are rare, but can include the following:

  • Feeling sick
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Irregular bleeding

Who should not use Levenorgestrel?

Levonorgestrel can interact with a small number of medicines. You must inform us of all medicines that you currently take including prescription only, over the counter, homeopathic and herbal medicines so that we can ensure it is safe for you. Levonorgestrel has no known effect on the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. The contraceptive pill can be taken immediately after using levonorgestrel. This is helpful if you had unprotected sex because you missed some of your regular contraceptive pills and want to continue taking them as soon as possible. However, most contraceptive pills require seven days of continuous use to achieve contraceptive cover- always check with your prescriber.


Keep out of sight and reach of children.


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