Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP)
Ulipristal acetate or EllaOne is a new ‘emergency contraceptive pill’ (ECP). It is now available without a prescription. This is a good thing!
You will need to ask the pharmacist for the ECP. They will check that it is safe for you to take and that you are not taking any medicines that interact with the ECP.
EllaOne is the most effective form of oral emergency contraception. If it is taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it reduces the chance of pregnancy by two-thirds when compared with the original ECP. It is a bit more expensive, however, so shop around if you can.
Taking the Emergency Contraceptive Pill
It is best taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex but is effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
It works by blocking hormones and therefore delaying ovulation – that is, the release of an egg from the ovary.
None of the ECPs causes an abortion, nor do they affect your future fertility.
Always follow up with a doctor who understands about contraception. Remember that EllaOne will interfere with other methods of hormonal contraception.
That means that you will need to wait before other methods are able to work. The time delay is:
- 7-9 days for the Pill (depending on the type of Pill)
- 7 days for the vaginal ring (NuvaRing)
- 2 days for the progesterone only or mini-pill
- 7 days for the Implanon or Depo-Provera
So, either wait to have sex for 2-9 days or use condoms.
And another tip, condoms are much less likely to break if they are used with water-based lubricant. They are also much more comfortable!
If you need to see a doctor for expert advice on contraception, make an appointment to see Dr Mezzini. Let her staff know if it is an emergency and they’ll make every effort to get you seen quickly.
Dr Mezzini can also provide advice on managing unplanned pregnancies.
Dr Tonia Mezzini is known for offering the best possible advice and treatment options for a person’s sexual health care needs. In particular, she cares for patients with:
Menopause and hormonal concerns
Chronic pelvic pain in men and women
Painful periods and endometriosis
Vulval pain syndromes and vulval skin conditions
Low libido and pain with intercourse
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Gender-affirming hormone therapy
Complex contraceptive choices
Sexually transmitted infections such as recurrent genital herpes
Information about sexual health
 Glasier AF, Cameron ST, Fine PM, et al. Ulipristal acetate versus levonorgestrel for emergency contraception: A randomised non-inferiority trial and meta-analysis. Lancet 2010;375(9714):555-52.