What is ellaOne?
ellaOne is a contraceptive which is intended to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your contraceptive method has failed. This includes unprotected sex, if a condom tore or if you did not take your contraceptive pill as directed.
How does ellaOne work?
ellaOne contains the substance ulipristal acetate which acts by modifying the activity of the natural hormone progesterone which is necessary for ovulation to occur. As a result, this medicine works by postponing ovulation.
What are the benefits of taking ellaOne?
If you are worried about unwanted pregnancies occurring then ellaOne can be an effective drug when taken in a post-unprotected sex capacity.
How do I use ellaOne?
ellaOne is an over-the-counter medication, meaning that you can easily buy it online without the need for a prescription. Always follow the medical advice and read the patient information leaflet provided in the medication packet.
Take one tablet orally as soon as possible and no later than 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. This can be taken at any point during your menstrual cycle and at any time of day.
ellaOne is not intended to be used as a form of regular contraception, but a solution for times when other methods have failed. If you have unprotected sex after taking the tablet, it will not stop you from becoming pregnant, and you should look into other contraception methods.
ellaOne tablets come as a single 30mg tablet containing ulipristal acetate. Those using it should take the tablet on a one-off occasion, as soon after unprotected sex as possible.
If you are sick within 3 hours of taking the tablet, take another tablet as soon as possible. It’s quite common for your next period to be late after taking ellaOne, however if this is more than 7 days late or you notice anything different from normal then you should do a pregnancy test.
Side effects & precautions
Before taking ellaOne, you should always proceed with caution. It is not suitable for anyone who is allergic to ulipristal acetate or any of the other ingredients of this medicine. You should also consult a medical professional first if:
- your period is late or you have symptoms of pregnancy (heavy breasts, morning sickness),
- you suffer from severe asthma,
- you suffer from severe liver disease.
There is also some evidence to suggest that the drug may be less effective on women with a higher BMI (body mass index) but given the lack of data, it is still currently suitable to be taken by all women, regardless of weight or BMI.
This medicine 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 this medicine, but be sure to back this up with additional contraception (like condoms) until your next period.
You should not take this medicine together with another emergency contraceptive pill that contains levonorgestrel, as it will make the medication less effective.
Like many medications with active ingredients, ellaOne can affect or be affected by other medicines. If you have used any of the below medicines in the last 4 weeks, ellaOne may be less suitable for you:
- medicines used to treat epilepsy
- medicines used to treat tuberculosis
- treatment for HIV
- medicine used to treat fungal infections (griseofulvin)
- herbal remedies containing St John’s wort.
If you have taken any of these medicines then you should consult a doctor, as they may prescribe you another type of emergency contraceptive (non-hormonal) such as a copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD).
You should not take ellaOne if you are already pregnant, or suspect yourself of being. However, if it turns out that you are pregnant when you take it, there is no evidence to suggest that it will affect your pregnancy. Having said this, you should still go and see your doctor.
If you take ellaOne while you are breastfeeding a baby, do not breastfeed for one week after taking this medicine. During this time, it is recommended to use a breast pump in order to maintain milk production, but throw away your breast milk.
The most common side effects of using ellaOne include:
- nausea, abdominal (stomach) pain or discomfort, vomiting
- painful periods, pelvic pain, breast tenderness
- headache, dizziness, mood swings
- muscle pain, back pain, tiredness
If you do experience one or more of these side effects and they persist or worsen, then inform your doctor right away. You should also contact your doctor immediately if you experience any serious side effects.