• ellaOne


From £23.50

Medication features

  • "Morning After Pill"
  • Effective for up to 120 hours after sex
  • Contains Ulipristal acetate

NOTE: After requesting this medication, you will need to complete a short assessment, so our GP or Pharmacist can assess if the treatment is suitable for you. Pricing is provided as a reference only. The final decision on issuing this medication remains with our GP / Pharmacist.


What is EllaOne?

EllaOne is an emergency contraceptive. It is taken within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex or if the usual contraceptive method has failed. It is used to prevent pregnancy.

EllaOne is the branded name for a morning after pill. There are two different morning-after pills available to buy - Levonelle and EllaOne. The active ingredient in EllaOne is ulipristal acetate. Levonelle contains the active ingredient levonorgestrel.

It will not prevent a pregnancy every time and is more effective if taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. 

How does EllaOne work?

Women are most fertile around the time their ovaries release an egg (ovulation) in the menstrual cycle. Ovulation usually occurs around 12 to 14 days before the next period starts. The chance of becoming pregnant after having unprotected sex is highest during this time.

The natural hormone progesterone is necessary for ovulation to occur. EllaOne blocks the function of progesterone. This stops or delays the release of the egg meaning the sperm is unable to fertilise the egg. If ovulation has already occurred EllaOne may not be effective. EllaOne is only effective if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex.

If unprotected sex has already occurred in the same menstrual cycle you may already be pregnant, meaning EllaOne will not work. If you suspect you may already be pregnant, please mention this when completing our online form.

EllaOne does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using condoms every time you have sex is the best method for protection against STIs.

EllaOne and regular contraception

EllaOne can be used as emergency contraception even if you are already using regular contraception. A common example is forgetting to take your regular pill.

After you take EllaOne you should:

  • Wait 5 days before you take your next pill, apply your next patch or insert a new ring

This precaution is necessary because taking your regular contraceptive before waiting 5 days can make EllaOne less effective.

Your regular contraception method will not be effective immediately. You should abstain from sex or use a condom for 7 days except:

  • 9 days if taking Qlaira
  • 2 days if taking the progestogen-only pill (POP or mini-pill)

Taking this precaution ensures your regular contraception becomes effective before having unprotected sex again.

Emergency contraception should only be used as an occasional contraceptive method. If you find you need to use emergency contraception on a regular basis, you should consider using regular contraception. These methods of contraception are more effective at preventing pregnancy. Examples of regular contraception:

  • Condoms
  • Combined pill
  • Mini-pill (progestogen-only pill)
  • Hormone implant
  • Hormonal coil
  • Copper coil
  • Hormonal patch
  • Vaginal ring

This web page has more information about the effectiveness of each regular method of contraception.

EllaOne alternatives

The two types of emergency hormonal contraception are:

  • Emergency contraceptive pill - EllaOne or Levonelle
  • The intrauterine device (IUD), also known as the coil

Levonelle can be used up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. This is compared to 120 hours with EllaOne. EllaOne is unsuitable in some circumstances for example if you have severe asthma or take certain medications. In these instances, Levonelle may be safer or more effective. Levonelle is also available to buy from our website.

The IUD is the most effective emergency contraception method. It can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex. If it is used as emergency contraception, it can be left in and used as a regular contraceptive method. 

The IUD can be inserted by a doctor or nurse. This is generally done in a GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinic, family planning clinic or sexual health clinic. This NHS page can help you find the nearest available clinic.

EllaOne in pregnancy and breastfeeding


EllaOne should not be used in pregnant women. It is not thought to harm a foetus but there has not been enough research conducted to know this for certain. If you may already be pregnant, please mention this when filling out the online form.


There is no research to know if breastfeeding is safe after taking EllaOne. Women who are breastfeeding are advised to avoid breastfeeding for a week after taking it. Any breast milk produced during this time should be discarded.

Interactions with other medication

When filling out our online form, make sure to list any medication you currently take.

There are some medicines that may cause EllaOne to be less effective at preventing pregnancy:

  • Drugs called barbiturates or other medicines for epilepsy like primidone and carbamazepine.
  • St John’s Wort, a herbal medicine 
  • Some medicines used to treat HIV and tuberculosis
  • A medicine used for fungal infection (griseofulvin)

In these cases, the intrauterine device (IUD) would be the most suitable option to use as an emergency contraceptive.

Women who take steroid tablets to control severe asthma are advised not to take EllaOne.




  • What is ellaOne?

    ellaOne is a "morning after pill", which is used if your usual method of contraception fails, or if you have unprotected sex.

  • What is in ellaOne?

    The active ingredient in EllaOne is Ulipristal acetate

  • When should I take ellaOne?

    ellaOne should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Effectiveness reduces the longer you leave to take it, and it is not effective past 120hours after sexual intercourse.

  • How does ellaOne work?

    ellaOne works by modifying the activity of the natural hormone progesterone which is necessary for ovulation to occur. As a result it postpones ovulation and hence fertilization can not occur.

  • How effective is ellaOne?

    Emergency contraception is effective in around 98% of cases. Of 100 women who take this medicine approximately 2 will become pregnant. 

    The sooner it is taken, the more likely it will work.

  • How do I take ellaOne?

    Take the tablet whole with a glass of water do not chew or crush the tablet. It must be taken within 120 hours after sexual intercourse.

  • What happens if I vomit after taking ellaOne?

    If you vomit within three hours of taking the tablet it will not have had time to be absorbed and another tablet will need to be taken.

  • Does EllaOne work if I’m mid-cycle?


    Generally, you are most fertile mid-cycle. This is usually between days 10-16 of your menstrual cycle depending on your usual cycle length. 

    Research suggests EllaOne is less effective if you have unprotected sex mid-cycle. This is because if ovulation has already occurred it may not be effective. It can still be taken but women are advised to have the IUD fitted as well.



Treatment Comparison

Effective up to72 hours after sex120 hours after sex
Effectiveness96-99% if taken within 24 hours98-99%
Affected by BMI?BMI over 26BMI over 30
Mechanism of ActionStops ovulationStops ovulation

Side Effects

Side effects of EllaOne

EllaOne is a well-tolerated medication, however, there is always a risk of side effects when taking any medicine. It's important you read the patient information leaflet so you are aware of the potential side effects when taking EllaOne.

Listed below are some of the common side effects users of this medication may experience:

  • Feeling or being sick (nausea)
  • Next period may be a few days late and more painful
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Abdominal pain, muscle pain

If you vomit within 3 hours of taking it you should take another dose because it may not have worked.

EllaOne may cause your period to be later than usual. But if your period is more than 7 days late or unusually light you may be pregnant. In this case, take a pregnancy test or speak to a healthcare professional.

A full list of side effects can be seen in the patient information leaflet and it is always advised you read this prior to taking any medication.

Info Leaflet

Please read the patient information leaflet before using this medication

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