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What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill (emergency contraception) is not to be taken as a form of birth control. Emergency contraception does NOT protect you from sexually transmitted diseases or infections.

The morning after pill is an emergency contraception pill. It can be taken during the first 3 to 5 days,  3 days (72 hours Levonelle) or 5 days (120 hours Ellaone) after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. After this time it is best to speak to your doctor.

Please note that the morning after pill is not a method of abortion and will not terminate a pregnancy.

Why take the morning after pill?

The morning after pill provides emergency contraception following unprotected intercourse and contraceptive failure or misuse. Two examples of contraceptive failure or misuse are: forgetting to take your hormonal birth control and condoms breaking. It is possible to buy the morning after pill for future use if:

  • You are worried about your contraceptive method failing
  • You are going on holiday and know that you cannot get emergency contraception once away

How does the morning after pill work?

The active ingredient in Levonelle 1500 and Levonelle One Step (brands of morning after pill)  is levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring female hormone progesterone. The morning after pill prevents ovulation and fertilisation and alters the lining of the womb in order to prevent pregnancy.

The active ingredient in EllaOne is ulipristal acetate which acts by modifying the activity of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone. This postpones ovulation, which ultimately helps prevent pregnancy.

Is taking the morning after pill safe?

The morning after pill is safe for you to take if it has been prescribed to you. Our online consultation ensures it is safe for you to take before you buy. However, it is worth considering other birth control options, such as the birth control pill, the patch, the ring, male or female condoms, and diaphragms. The morning after pill does not prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is important to use condoms to prevent the transmission of STIs.

Where can you get the morning after pill?

You can get the morning after pill from a high street pharmacy, or you can buy the morning after pill online. There are three different types of morning after pill available through Instant eCare. This includes Levonelle 1500 and Levonelle One Step which can both be taken up to 72 hours after intercourse, and EllaOne which can be taken up to 120 hours, or 5 days, after intercourse. The sooner it is taken after intercourse the more effective the morning after pill will be.


Please be aware that the effectiveness of the pill decreases over time 

• 95% effective the first 24 hours after having unprotective sex

• 85% effective between 24 - 48 hours

• 58% effective between 48 - 72 hours

• The EllaOne tablet is 95% effective between 48 - 120 hours


If you are a victim of sexual abuse/exploitation, domestic violence, rape, or emotional abuse then it’s important to know that there is help available. Please visit our Victim Support Page for a list of contacts who can help you.

* Please note results, timeframe and individual responses to treatments may vary from person to person. If you do need medical advice you should always speak to a doctor, pharmacist or appropriate medical professional.