What is ellaOne?
Ulipristal is the active ingredient in ellaOne. It is licensed in the UK for use as emergency contraception up to 5 days (120 hours) after having unprotected sexual intercourse or failure of regular contraception.
How does ellaOne work?
The mechanism of action of ellaOne is not completely known. This medication is thought to exert its contraceptive action through activation of progesterone receptors in the body, which in turn prevents egg release from the ovaries (ovulation) and alters the womb lining so the egg cannot be embedded into it.
How effective is ellaOne?
ellaOne is effective as the ‘morning after pill’ when used with 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sexual intercourse or failure of regular contraceptive method. It is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken within this period. It is important to understand that no form of emergency contraception is 100% effective and if there is any suspicion of existing pregnancy patients should not use emergency contraception and see their GP instead. If there is any doubt whether menstruation has occurred, a pregnancy test should be performed at least 3 weeks after unprotected intercourse or if your period is more than 7 days late.
How do I use ellaOne?
ellaOne should be taken as a single dose as soon as possible but no longer than 120 hours after sexual intercourse. The tablet should be swallowed whole with a glass of water, it can be taken with or without food. If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of having the ellaOne the absorption and therefore effectiveness of this medication may be compromised, therefore another tablet should be taken immediately. After using ellaOne patients are recommended to use barrier contraception (e.g. condoms) until the next period starts.
What are the cautions associated with ellaOne use?
ellaOne is a commonly used for of emergency contraception in the UK it may not be suitable for everyone. This medication should not be used by people suffering from certain conditions and those taking particular medications. You should always read the patient information leaflet (PIL) for ellaOne before taking this medication to ensure it is safe for you to use. Interactions ellaOne may interact with certain medications, which can reduce its effectiveness or increase risk of adverse effects.
A complete list of the medications that should be avoided whilst using ellaOne is detailed with the patient information leaflet (PIL).
Can I use ellaOne whilst taking a regular contraception pill?
Patients can use ellaOne if you are taking combined (‘the pill’) or progesterone-only (‘mini-pill’) oral contraceptives. There may be a need for emergency contraception when a regular contraceptive tablet is missed. After using ellaOne the effectiveness of regular contraception may be compromised thus extra precautions should be taken. It is recommended to use additional barrier contraception (e.g. condoms) for the next 14 days if you are using combined (‘the pill’) oral contraceptives (16 days for Qlaira) and 9 days if you are using progesterone-only (‘mini-pill’) oral contraceptives.
What are the side effects of ellaOne?
ellaOne like all medications can be associated with certain side effects although not all patients would experience these.
Common side-effects to look out for, include:
- Dizziness: if you are affected by this you should avoid performing skilled tasks such as driving or operating machinery
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Breast Tenderness
- Abdominal, Back & Period Pain
- Pelvic Pain & Muscle Aches
- Mood changes
For more information about the side effects associated with this medication please see the patient information leaflet or contact us.
Can I use ellaOne everyday?
ellaOne should not be used as regular contraception and its use should be reserved for emergencies. Patients should be aware that ellaOne provides no protection against sexually transmitted infections.
Where can I find more information on Emergency Contraception and ellaOne?
Please refer to the patient information leaflet for further information on ellaOne. You can find more information about Emergency Contraception on the Conditions category page.