Can you drink alcohol with ellaOne®?

Are you wondering whether you can drink alcohol after taking the morning after pill? Maybe you’re headed to the pub tonight and want to know if drinking alcohol will make the morning after pill less effective, or perhaps you’re curious about whether there’s any interaction between alcohol and emergency contraception.

Whatever your reason for being here, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out more.

What is ellaOne®?

ellaOne® is a hormonal emergency contraceptive pill which can help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Roughly half way through your menstrual cycle (although this varies from person to person and from month to month), your body releases an egg from your ovaries into the fallopian tubes in a process known as ovulation. 

The egg stays there for around 12-24 hours. If it does not join with a sperm, then the egg is reabsorbed into the body. If during you have unprotected sex or experience contraceptive failure around the time of ovulation, sperm can swim into the fallopian tube. If the sperm comes in contact with the egg, they can join together to begin the process of pregnancy.

Whilst ovulation itself only lasts for 12-24 hours, sperm can live inside the body for up to five days. This means that even if you have unprotected sex before you ovulate, there is a chance that the sperm will still be around when your egg is released.

ellaOne® can help prevent pregnancy by delaying the release of the egg, so that the sperm has nothing to fertilise. ellaOne®* is the most effective morning after pill and is 2.5x more effective* than hormonal emergency contraceptives containing levonorgestrel when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex.

*Verify at ellaOne.co.uk/verify

Can you drink after taking ellaOne®?

There is no known interaction between ellaOne® and alcohol, and there is no evidence that drinking will make ellaOne® less effective.

“I often get asked about whether someone can drink alcohol if they have had a specific medicine,” says Deborah Evans, a pharmacist with over 30 years of experience.** 

“There is no specific interaction between ellaOne and alcohol and so it is OK to have a drink after taking, or after drinking, for example, the night before. However, having too much alcohol can make you sick and if this happens within 3 hours of taking ellaOne, then you will need to take another tablet.” 

**Deborah Evans does not endorse any products or brands.

If you use a daily contraceptive pill as your regular contraceptive, it’s important that you remember to take it as per the instructions for your specific pill. If you usually take it at night and you’re going out, it’s important to remember to still take it otherwise it may not be effective. 

HRA’s 2022 Big Sex Survey** found that 42% of 18-24 year-olds, 43% of 25-34 year- olds and 60% of 35-44 year olds have never tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are the only contraceptive method which also protects against STIs, so if you’re sleeping with someone new or you’re not sure of your partner’s status, it’s a good idea to use condoms even if you are using another contraceptive method. We also recommend testing for STIs whenever you sleep with a new partner to keep yourself and others safe.

**Based on responses from over 2,000 female, trans and non binary people in the U.K

What if I take the morning after pill more than once in a month?

ellaOne® and other hormonal emergency contraceptive pills are intended for emergency use only. Unlike regular contraceptive methods, emergency hormonal contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, which means there is a window between the sex and taking the pill during which you are not protected and in which you may ovulate.  As ellaOne® works by delaying ovulation, it will not be effective if you have already ovulated. 

Did you know that you can get some regular contraceptive pills over the pharmacy counter with no need for a doctor’s appointment? Some progestogen-only pills, like Hana®, are available in store or online following a consultation checklist which will determine whether this method of contraception is right for you. Find out more about how Hana works here.

Have you ever taken the morning after pill? Why not share your experience to help us end the stigma which even in 2022 still surrounds emergency contraception?