The Morning After Pill

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Thinking about taking the morning after pill?

Get the facts.

Emergency contraception, known as the “morning after pill” contains either levonorgestrel, sold as Plan B One Step, or ulipristral acetate, sold as Ella.

Levonorgestrel

Levonorgestrel is the most common form of emergency contraception.  Commonly referred to as “the morning-after pill”, it is sold under the brand names Plan B One-Step or Next Choice One Dose.  Levonorgestrel can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.

How it Works

Levonorgestrel has 3 effects:

  • Prevents ovulation by stopping the release of the egg from the ovary
  • Prevents fertilization of the egg by sperm
  • Changes the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg (embryo) from implanting

Levonorgestrel is not intended for use among women who are already pregnant, only those who wish to prevent pregnancy.  Call us at 215-855-2424 if you have any question about whether you are currently pregnant.

Levonorgestrel will not prevent an STD.

Risks and Side Effects

  • changes in your period
  • nausea
  • cramping
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • breast tenderness
  • abdominal pain

Women who experience severe abdominal pain should be evaluated for ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside the uterus (usually inside the fallopian tubes).

Levonorgestrel is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive. 

Ulipristal

Ulipristal acetate, commonly known as Ella, is a progesterone agonist/antagonist emergency contraceptive for use up to 5 days following unprotected sex.  You will need a prescription from your doctor to use Ella.

Ella works in two ways.

  • Preventing or delaying the release of an egg from the ovary.
  • Changing the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

 

Ella is not intended for use among women who are already pregnant, only those who wish to prevent pregnancyExisting pregnancy should be excluded before taking Ella. The risks to a fetus when Ella is taken by a woman who is already pregnant are unknown.  Call us at 215-855-2424 if you have any question about whether you are currently pregnant.

Ella will not prevent an STD.

Risks and Side Effects

  • headache
  • nausea
  • cramping
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • abdominal pain

Women become pregnant or who experience abdominal pain after using Ella should be evaluated for ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside the uterus (usually inside the fallopian tubes). 

As with all emergency contraception, Ella is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive. Repeated use of Ella within the same menstrual cycle is not recommended.

Women who are currently breastfeeding should not take Ella. Much is unknown about the risks of Ella in women under the age of 18 and over the age of 35.

Our appointments are confidential.  Every year we help hundreds of women facing unplanned pregnancies, and understand the importance of privacy.

Have questions about the morning after pill? Call North Care Women’s Clinic at 215-855-2424 to schedule an appointment to get answers.

References
1. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Morning-after Pill: Definition. Mayo Clinic.  http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/basics/definition/prc-20012891
2. American Society of Health-System Pharmacist, Inc. (2015). Levonorgestrel. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a610021.html
3. GedeonRicther, Ltd. (2010). FDA Full Prescribing Information: Plan B One Step. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021998lbl.pdf
4. Afaxys, Inc. (2014). Important Safety Information: ella® (ulipristal acetate) tablet. Retrieved from http://www.ellanow.com/pdf/ella-important-safety-information.pdf
5. American Society of Health-System Pharmacist, Inc. (2010). Ulipristral. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a610020.html
6. Watson Pharma, Inc. (2010). FDA Full Prescribing Information: Ella. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022474s000lbl.pdf
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