MORNING AFTER PILL
Get emergency contraception if you’ve had unprotected sex and want to prevent pregnancy.
You need Morning After Pill Now – If your regular contraception has failed or you have had unprotected sex within the last 3 days you might be worried about being pregnant. The emergency contraceptive pill is sometime called ECP, morning after pill, and Plan B.
If you need the morning after pill Home Pharmacy can help: it is available quickly and discreetly from our pharmacy.
You don’t need a Doctor’s prescription.
- One Tablet to be taken as soon as possible
- Most effective when taken within 12 hours after unprotected sex
- Can be effective if used within 3 days (72 hours)
Who can use the morning after pill?
The morning after pill will not be suitable if:
- You’re already pregnant
- You had unprotected sex more than 3 days (72 hours) ago
- You’re allergic to any of the ingredients (the pharmacist can help you with this)
You must tell the pharmacist if you fall into ANY of the below categories before you take the morning after pill:
- You’ve previously had an ectopic pregnancy
- You suffer from a digestive order, such as Crohn’s disease
- If you are taking any other medication, especially (will require 2 doses of ECP):
- Primidone, Phenytoin, Carbemazepine (used predominantly to treat epilepsy)
- Griseofulvin (for fungal infections)
- St John’s Wort
- Rifampicin or Rifabutin (usually for tuberculosis)
- Ritonavir (for HIV infection)
- If you’re breast feeding
IMPORTANT NOTE: the 72 hours in which you must take the morning after pill to avoid pregnancy begins from the point you had unprotected sex, and is more effective the earlier you take it. Therefore, you must ensure you give yourself enough time to get the treatment from the pharmacy.
How do I take the morning after pill?
- Read the patient information leaflet that comes with the tablet
- Take the tablet as soon as possible after unprotected sex – ideally within 12 hours and before 72 hours has past
- Swallow the tablet whole, with water
- If you are sick within three hours you will need to take another tablet. Consult your pharmacist to obtain another tablet.
How effective is the morning after pill?
The morning after pill is not 100% effective, but there is a greater chance of preventing a pregnancy if it is taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex.
A trial undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that levonorgestrel (the drug in Levonelle) prevented:
- 95% of expected pregnancies when taken within 24 hours of sex
- 85% if taken within 25-48 hours
- 58% if taken within 49-72 hours
The morning after pill will not stop a pregnancy if you are already pregnant.
When to Take the Morning After Pill
The morning after pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
The ECP can be taken more than once during your menstrual cycle. If you would like to take the morning after pill now, you can collect it from our pharmacy.
How the Morning After Pill Works
Morning after pills work mainly by stopping or delaying the body from releasing an egg (ovulation). In the case of levonorgestrel, it may also affect the lining of the womb, preventing a fertilised egg from implanting itself.
Impact on your regular Contraceptive Pill
If you are taking the emergency contraceptive pill because you have missed your regular contraceptive pill, then please be aware that your normal contraception will not be effective straight away.
You should restart your regular contraceptive as usual, but use additional precautions or abstain from sex. Please check your pill packet and leaflet for exact advice.
The morning after pill should not be used as an alternative to regular contraception. It is designed for one-off use. Ongoing regular contraception is much more effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy than relying on emergency contraception.
Emergency Contraception and STIs
Emergency contraception, such as the morning after pill, does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you have potentially been exposed to STIs we strongly advise that you take an STI test.
If you have had unprotected sex recently and are worried that you might have a sexually transmitted infection, you should seek medical help and visit your local sexual health clinic.
Other Forms of Emergency Contraception
The most effective form of emergency contraception is an IUD. This can be fitted by a GP or family planning clinic up to five days after unprotected sex, or within 5 days of the earliest time you could have released an egg.
Are there any side effects to the morning after pill?
Some people may experience the following:
- Dizziness and feeling overly tired
- Feeling sick, vomiting, lower stomach pain or diarrhoea
- Unexpected bleeding not related to your monthly cycle
- Tender breasts
If you experience any difficulty in breathing or swelling of the face, neck, tongue or throat, seek medical attention immediately.
The morning after pill may disturb your normal period cycle: you may start earlier or later than usual. If your next period is more than five days late, or is unusually light or heavy, or there is any other reason you might suspect you are pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test and talk to your doctor as soon as possible.