Where to buy the morning after pill in the UK

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So, you had sex and didn’t use protection? Maybe you forgot to take your birth control pill, maybe the condom split, or perhaps you got carried away in the moment.

No matter what happened the night before, you can still protect your morning after. If you want to prevent pregnancy you may consider getting emergency contraception – i.e. the morning after pill.

When can you take the morning after pill?

As the name suggests, emergency contraception should only be used in an emergency: so if your regular contraceptive failed or if no contraception was used.

The morning after pill is not designed to be a method of regular contraception and it doesn’t protect you against STIs (sexually transmitted infections). If you have had unprotected sex with a new partner, you may want to arrange to have a sexual health check.

Remember: many STIs carry no symptoms, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t panic – there are many ways of getting the morning after pill if you want to reduce your risk of falling pregnant.

Types of morning after pill

There are two types of morning after pill: levonorgestrel and ulipristal acetate (also known as ellaOne). ellaOne has been shown to be 2.5 times more effective than levonorgestrel when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, and is the most effective morning after pill* just before ovulation (which is when you are most likely to conceive).

Levonorgestrel is effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, and ellaOne can work for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.

Both pills are most effective when taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex, so don’t wait around with your fingers crossed. Despite the name, you can take the morning after pill at any time of day – not just the morning.

We know it can be daunting, but you are not alone in this experience: many people, in countless different circumstances, have taken the morning after pill before. You can read their stories here.

Do you need a prescription for the morning after pill?

You don’t need a prescription for the morning after pill, which means you can simply purchase it over the counter at the pharmacy. It is available at all pharmacies, some may even have a poster in their window saying that emergency contraception is stocked there.

You won’t be able to pick up emergency contraception from the shelf, as the pharmacist has to ask you a few questions to check if either medicine is right for you.

When is the morning after pill most effective?

If you want to stand the best chance of avoiding pregnancy, ask for ellaOne (2.5 times more effective than levonorgestrel when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex*).

The pharmacist will ask you to have a quick consultation to make sure the morning after pill is right for you. It’s always going to be a bit cringe to talk about sex with a stranger, but remember that asking for emergency contraception is nothing to be embarrassed about: you are just another customer.

If you’ve ever wondered what the pharmacist is really thinking, then you should check out our interview with pharmacist Deborah Evans, who tells the story from the other side of the counter.

How much does the morning after pill cost in the U.K?

Prices of emergency contraception can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. Generally speaking the morning after pill costs between £14 – £35.

You can get the morning after pill for free from contraception and sexual health clinics, Brook centres and your GP (but you will have to make an appointment ASAP after unprotected sex).

What is the ellaOne consultation checklist?

To make things even easier, ellaOne have even launched a consultation card in UK pharmacies.

ellaOne went to three UK festivals last summer – Bestival, Leeds and Rize – and in between partying we found time to survey almost a thousand of you about emergency contraception.

When we asked you about the awkward consultation at the pharmacy, 72% of you said you would prefer to fill out a short questionnaire rather than speak to the pharmacist.

That inspired us to launch a consultation card – a short questionnaire which you can use to answer the pharmacist’s questions discreetly by scratching out your answers.

These cards will be available in your local Superdrug or Well store, and some other pharmacies, so you can simply scratch off your details and hand it back to the counter assistant.

You may be asked to speak to the pharmacist if your answers indicate that ellaOne might not be suitable for you.


What is ellaOne Direct?

If you can’t get to a pharmacy, or if you feel uncomfortable doing so, you can now purchase ellaOne online and have it delivered to your door. All you have to do is enter your postcode and answer seven simple questions to make sure ellaOne is right for you.

You will be able to choose between same day delivery, next day delivery or having it delivered within 3 to 5 days if you are buying it in advance for future use.

Be sure to select the right delivery option so that your emergency contraception reaches you on time, or order in advance to keep a pack on hand – just in case.

What is the #MyMorningAfter all about?

ellaOne have been campaigning to make purchasing the morning after pill as effortless as possible. Sure, the thought of it might be cringeworthy, but we need to get rid of the unfair stigma that suggests using it means you were irresponsible or promiscuous.

Just look at all the stories we have received from women about their experiences of emergency contraception: the bad, the empowering and the ‘meh’.

If you have taken emergency contraception and want to share your story, you can submit it below or using the hashtag #MyMorningAfter. If you have any more questions about sexual health and contraception you can ask us using the hashtag #AskElla.

ellaOne® 30mg film-coated tablet contains ulipristal acetate and is indicated for emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Always read the label.