EllaOne is known as a 'morning after pill'. It is used to reduce the chances of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex or failure of a contraceptive method.
EllaOne tablets contain the active ingredient ulipristal acetate, which is a selective progesterone receptor modulator. It works by acting on the body's receptors for the naturally occurring female sex hormone, progesterone.
It is not fully understood how this medicine prevents pregnancy. It is thought to work by preventing ovulation and fertilisation and also by altering the lining of the womb, depending on which stage of the menstrual cycle the woman is at.
In a woman's normal menstrual cycle, an egg matures and is released from the ovaries (ovulation). The ovary then produces progesterone, which prevents the release of further eggs. Ulipristal tricks the body processes into thinking that ovulation has already occurred. This prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries.
Ulipristal also increases the thickness of the natural mucus at the neck of the womb (cervix), making it more difficult for sperm to cross from the vagina into the womb. By preventing sperm entering the womb, successful fertilisation of any egg that is there is less likely.
Ulipristal is also thought to alter the lining of the womb, preventing it from being prepared for a fertilised egg. This means that if an egg is released from the ovaries and is fertilised, it cannot implant into the womb and therefore pregnancy is avoided.
The whole process from fertilisation to implantation in the womb can take up to five days, so EllaOne can only stop pregnancy from occurring for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it will be.
It is estimated that for every 100 women who take EllaOne up to five days after unprotected sex, approximately two women will become pregnant. The tablet is more effective at preventing pregnancy the earlier it is taken, so it is important to take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex, rather than delay it to the fifth day.
There is one tablet to be taken. It should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, and no later than 120 hours (5 days) after.
If you are sick within three hours of taking the tablet, another one should be taken immediately. You should consult your doctor, pharmacist or family planning clinic for advice and to get another tablet.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Just because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you take this medicine, to make sure that the combination is safe.
This morning after pill may be less effective if you are taking any of the following medicines, because these medicines speed up the breakdown of ulipristal by the liver:
If you are taking any of these medicines regularly, or have stopped taking one of them within the last 28 days, you may be advised to have a copper coil (IUD) fitted as emergency contraception, as this will not be affected by the medicines you are taking. You should discuss your options with your doctor, pharmacist or family planning clinic.
Medicines used to reduce acidity in the stomach, for example proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole or lansoprazole, H2 antagonists such as ranitidine or cimetidine, or antacids, can reduce the absorption of ulipristal from the gut and thus make it less effective. If you take any of these medicines you should use a different morning after pill or a copper coil as emergency contraception. For more advice talk to your doctor or family plannig clinic.
EllaOne should not be taken together with emergency contraceptives containing levonorgestrel (Levonelle one step or Levonelle 1500). It won't have a combined effect with these, in fact EllaOne is likely to make Levonelle less effective.
As it acts on progesterone receptors, taking EllaOne may temporarily make regularly used hormonal contraceptives less effective. It is important to use a reliable barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, after taking EllaOne, while continuing with your usual contraceptive. If you are taking a combined pill you should use extra contraception for 14 days after taking EllaOne. (If you are taking Qlaira you should use extra contraception for 16 days.) If you are taking a progesterone-only pill (mini pill) you should use an additional method of contraception for 9 days after taking EllaOne. If you are using the vaginal ring, patch, implant or injection, you should use extra contraception for 14 days after taking EllaOne. For further advice talk to your pharmacist or family planning clinic.
There are currently no other medicines available in the UK that contain ulipristal acetate as the active ingredient.