There are many misconceptions when it comes to the morning after pill. In this article, we debunk 5 of the most common morning after pill myths. Plus, find out how effective they are, and which pills are available.

WHAT IS THE MORNING AFTER PILL?

The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception used to prevent pregnancy for women who have had unprotected sex or sex wherein the birth control method has failed, such as a missed pill or a torn condom.

The pill works by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg so that it cannot become embedded in the womb.
The morning after pill is intended for use as a backup contraception only, as opposed to a primary method of birth control.

THE TWO TYPES OF MORNING AFTER PILLS

Levonelle

Levonelle’s active ingredient is levonorgestrel, a licenced form of emergency contraception in the UK.

In order for Levonelle to work, you must take it within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, although we recommend taking it as soon as possible. This particular morning after pill effectively prevents pregnancy in up to 95% of cases if used 24 hours after sex.
Levonelle is a single-dose treatment containing 1x tablet, which should be swallowed with a glass of water.

You can buy Levonelle directly from PostMyMeds following a short online consultation.
Prices start from £18.99.
Buy Levonelle here.

ellaOne

The active ingredient in the ellaOne morning after pill is ulipristal acetate.

ellaOne is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within 5 days of having sex, offering a longer window for treatment than Levonelle.

ellaOne is a single-dose treatment containing 1x tablet, which should be swallowed with a glass of water.

You can buy ellaOne directly from PostMyMeds following a short online consultation.
Prices start from £29.99.
Buy ellaOne here. 

HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE MORNING AFTER PILL?

Regardless of which brand of pill you buy, the sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
Of the 2 morning after pills mentioned above, ellaOne has proven more effective than Levonelle. According to a 2017 study¹, approximately 1 to 2% of women who take the ellaOne morning after pill after unprotected sex will become pregnant. By comparison, an estimated 0.6 to 2.6% of women who take the Levonelle morning after pill after unprotected sex will become pregnant.

COMMON MORNING AFTER PILL MYTHS DEBUNKED

Here are 5 common misconceptions about the morning after pill.

Myth #1: It’s the only form of emergency contraception

The morning after pill is not the only method of emergency contraception. Another form of emergency contraception available is the intrauterine device (IUD), which is considered more invasive than the emergency pill as it involves having a small copper and plastic device put into your uterus. The IUD releases copper to prevent pregnancy and is sometimes called the ‘copper coil’ or just ‘the coil’.

Myth #2: You can only get it with a prescription

Although you can choose to get the morning after pill from your GP, a walk-in healthcare centre, and GUM (genitourinary medicine) or sexual health clinics, you can also buy it privately without a prescription from a registered online pharmacy such as PostMyMeds.

Myth #3: It’s only effective the morning after unprotected sex

Contrary to its name, the morning after pill can be effective up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex.

Myth #4 You can’t buy it if you’re underage

If you’re under 16, you can still get the morning after pill², but you may not be able to buy it from some pharmacies, be it online or in person. Under 16-year-olds can get free emergency contraception from most contraception and GUM clinics, or some GP surgeries.

Myth #5: It can affect your fertility

There is no evidence that taking the morning after pill will affect your fertility or make you infertile either long term or short term.

For more information, view our range of morning after pills or read some frequently asked questions about the morning after pill.

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Feb 16, 2022 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Feb 28, 2022 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
References

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