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Avoid the need for emergency contraception with these top tips

Tips to avoid contraceptive mishaps

Contraceptive accidents can happen to anyone. Here are some tips to help you avoid them happening:

  • Be prepared. Carry condoms or keep your sponge, diaphragm or cap with you
  • Don’t use oil based lubricants with latex condoms, as they can weaken them so they split
  • Be careful when taking condoms out of the packet, especially around nails and jewellery
  • Store condoms correctly so they don’t get too hot or damaged
  • Ensure condoms are not past their use by date
  • Use pill manufacturers’ apps, or use the reminder or calendar function on your mobile telephone, to set up daily alerts to remind you to take your contraceptive pill.
  • Ensure you follow the correct guidance if you miss a contraceptive pill. See your pill pack leaflet.
  • Sign up to telephone or SMS alerts provided free by some contraceptive manufacturers
  • Set up a mobile reminder to take out and reinsert your vaginal ring
  • Set up a weekly mobile reminder to change your contraceptive patch
  • Set up a mobile reminder to have your next contraceptive injection
  • Don’t assume you will remember. Don’t take a chance.

What to ask your pharmacist when you need the morning after pill

Asking your pharmacist about ellaOne®

If you need ellaOne®, it may be helpful to plan what you are going to say to the pharmacist. Here are some ideas:

  • “I’d like the morning after pill please.”
  • “I’d like the emergency contraceptive pill please.”
  • “I’ve had a contraceptive mishap and I’d like the morning after pill please?”
  • “Can I talk to someone about the morning after pill please?”


Take somebody with you if it makes you feel more comfortable.


Talk to your pharmacist discreetly about ellaOne®

Asking your pharmacist for ellaOne®

Getting ellaOne®should be simple and discrete.


The pharmacist may ask you a few questions, just to check ellaOne® is suitable for you.

There’s no need to feel embarrassed. Remember, pharmacy staff deal with all kinds of sensitive situations every day – it’s their job to help you to deal with the situation calmly and make this experience as uncomplicated as they can for you. They will provide advice and support in a professional manner.

What contraception you should use after taking ellaOne®

What to do after taking ellaOne®

ellaOne® is Europe’s most effective morning after pill. If you have taken it, it is important to take extra precautions during sex until your next period to ensure it has worked.

 Always use a reliable barrier contraceptive, like condoms, until your next period.

Starting the contraceptive pill

Continuing to take the contraceptive pill

If you wish to start a regular method of contraception after using ellaOne®, you can do so but you should also use condoms until your next period. ellaOne® may make regular hormonal contraceptives, like pills and patches, temporarily less effective. If you are currently taking hormonal contraception, continue to use it as usual after taking ellaOne®, but be sure to use condoms every time you have sex until your next period.

Red condom with  packings isolated on white

Can I have sex after taking the morning after pill ellaOne®?

Sex after taking the morning after pill

ellaOne® is an emergency contraceptive pill and will not protect against future acts of sexual intercourse. After using ellaOne®, if you want to have sex, always use a reliable barrier contraceptive method such as condoms until your next period, even if you use a regular contraceptive pill.

Is it safe to take the morning after pill while breastfeeding?

Can I breastfeed on the morning after pill?

It is an old wives’ tale that you can’t get pregnant when you are breastfeeding. If you are having sex while breastfeeding and you’re not planning on another pregnancy, you need to take precautions. If you have unprotected sex and the condom splits, you can take emergency contraception.

If you have chosen to take ellaOne®, do not breastfeed your baby for one week after taking. During this week you should express your breast milk to stimulate and maintain milk production, but throw away the milk you express.

How effective is ellaOne® at preventing pregnancy?

How do I know if ellaOne® has worked?

You will know ellaOne® has worked when your next period starts. After taking ellaOne®, most women have a normal period at the expected time, but some may have their period later or earlier than normal.

Take a pregnancy test if:

  • your period is more than seven days late
  • your period is unusually light or unusually heavy
  • you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or breast pain
  • you have any doubt about being pregnant.

Pregnant after ellaOne®?

If you have accidentally taken ellaOne® during pregnancy, or have become pregnant despite having taken ellaOne®, HRA Pharma (the licence holder of ellaOne®) is interested in receiving more information about your pregnancy. Information is anonymous to preserve your confidentiality. You can report information at, or ask your doctor to do it for you. You are strongly advised to contact your healthcare professional as early as possible if you become pregnant.

Does the morning after pill ellaOne® have any side effects?


Side effects of ellaOne®

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

The most commonly reported side effects are:

  • headaches
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • abdominal pain
  • painful periods.

These are also possible signs of pregnancy.


Taking a pregnancy test

If you miss your period or your period is lighter or heavier than normal, and you experience such symptoms after taking ellaOne®, you should do a pregnancy test.

It is possible that your period may be delayed for more than 7 days of the expected time, after taking ellaOne®. If this happens, or you are in any doubt, it is recommended you take a pregnancy test.

If you get any side effects, talk to your pharmacist or other healthcare professional.


How should I take Europe’s most effective morning after pill?

How to take ellaOne®

ellaOne® is easy to take – it is one single tablet.

You can take ellaOne® with some water as soon as possible and no later than 120 hours (5 days) after you have had unprotected sex.

It’s fine to take it before, during or after a meal.


What to tell your pharmacist before taking ellaOne®

What to tell your pharmacist

Below is a list of medicines and health conditions you should tell your pharmacist about when discussing ellaOne®:

  • Liver disease. ellaOne® is not recommended for women with severe liver disease
  • Taking oral glucocorticoids for severe asthma
  • Certain medicines used to treat epilepsy (phenytoin, fosphenytoine, phenobarbital, primidone, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine)
  • Certain medicines used to treat HIV infection (ritonavir, efavirenz, nevirapine)
  • Certain medicines used to treat bacterial infections (for example rifampicin, rifabutin)
  • Herbal remedies containing St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) used for depression or anxiety
  • ellaOne® should not be used together with emergency contraceptives containing levonorgestrel