How Often Can I Take the Morning After Pill?

Deborah Evans, Pharamacist
How Often Can I Take the Morning After Pill?

Did you know that 25% of people surveyed by ellaOne* believe that using the morning after pill multiple times can cause infertility?
This is not true, but it’s a misconception that can make people less likely to take emergency contraception in order to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure. You can use the morning after pill more than once, including even in the same cycle.

So, let’s look at the facts about using the morning after pill multiple times.

How long does the morning after pill last?

There is no evidence that taking the morning after pill multiple times in your life will affect your long term fertility. In fact, you could fall pregnant the next time you have sex after using the morning after pill.

The emergency contraceptive pill can only be used to help protect you after a single incident of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It will not continue to protect you against further unplanned pregnancies, so it is important to use regular contraception going forwards.

So what happens if you experience another contraceptive failure after taking the morning after pill?

Can you take the morning after pill multiple times?

The morning after pill is not there to replace regular contraception, but it is possible to take it multiple times in your life in the event of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

There are two types of hormonal emergency contraception available in the UK: ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) and levonorgestrel.
ellaOne is the most effective morning after pill**. When taken within 24 hours, ellaOne is 2.5 times more effective than other emergency contraceptives containing levonorgestrel.

**verify at https://www.ellaone.co.uk/verify/

As the name suggests, emergency contraception is intended for emergency use only and should not be used instead of regular methods of contraception. It is also important to note that the morning after pill may sometimes temporarily reduce the effectiveness of some contraceptive pills, so if you’re taking the pill, you should also use a barrier method – such as condoms – until your next period.

Don’t forget that unplanned pregnancy isn’t the only risk when you have unprotected sex. Emergency contraception does not protect you against sexual transmitted infections (STIs), so if you have had unprotected sex, you should visit your local sexual health clinic or GP for a check-up. It’s a good idea to get checked for STIs regularly if you’re sexually active.

How long after unprotected sex can you take ellaOne?

Any morning after pill is most effective the sooner you take it, preferably within 24 hours of unprotected sex.

ellaOne can be used up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Levonorgestrel can be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

Both of these types of emergency contraception work by helping to delay or prevent ovulation. If you have already ovulated, emergency hormonal contraception will not be effective and it cannot terminate a pregnancy.

Don’t forget – if you can’t make it to a pharmacy, you can get ellaOne delivered directly to your door. Find out more about ellaOne Direct here.

How often can you take the morning after pill?

ellaOne is intended for occasional use in emergencies and it should not be used to replace your regular methods of contraception.

However, if you do have unprotected sex or experience contraceptive failure twice in the same cycle, it is best to speak to your pharmacist or a healthcare professional about whether ellaOne is right for you on this occasion.

An alternative to taking the morning after pill is to have an IUD fitted. The IUD (also known as the copper coil) is a long term non-hormonal contraceptive which also works as emergency contraception. You have it fitted up to five days after unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure to help prevent pregnancy.

Is there any reason you should not take the morning after pill multiple times?

If you have taken emergency hormonal contraception before and experienced bad side effects or an allergic reaction you should speak to your pharmacist or a healthcare professional about whether there’s a better option for you.

A few people may not be able to take the morning after pill at all. For instance those who suffer from very severe asthma or those taking certain medication. It is always important to inform whoever is providing you with emergency contraception of any health conditions or medications you are taking, so they can be sure to provide you with what will be suitable for you.

Find out more about side effects in this article.

Taking emergency contraception is a responsible choice

No method of contraception is 100% reliable. Accidents can happen often through no fault of your own. Sometimes condoms can break, even when they’re used correctly. The most organised person in the world could forget their contraceptive pill. It’s what you do next that counts.

There are many reasons someone might seek emergency contraception but there is not a single reason they should be judged for this.

Taking the morning after pill is an informed, responsible decision and we want to make sure you have all the information and resources that will help you make the choice that is right for you.

Have more questions about ellaOne? Why not take a look at this article: All you need to know about ellaOne

*Statistic is from ellaOne’s Fact Not Fiction survey of 1027 18-35 year olds
** verify at www.ellaOne.co.uk/verify