Emergency contraceptive pills (EC pills), also known as emergency birth control pills, have given a reason to many new generation women to stay worry-free after something goes wrong during sex. The condom might get torn or your regular contraceptive method may fail, but with emergency contraceptives around, you do not have to spend sleepless nights in fear of an unwanted pregnancy.

The use of emergency contraception has never raised any serious safety concern. The two most popular brands available in the UK – ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) and Levonelle (levonorgestrel) – are clinically tested to be safe and effective in women who take them after sex to avoid becoming pregnant.

How safe and effective is ulipristal acetate?

Clinical trials have shown that ellaOne is one of the most effective EC pills when it comes to preventing unwanted pregnancies. It is reported that about 98% women taking this pill immediately after unprotected sexual intercourse can dodge a pregnancy they do not want. Taking an ellaOne pill any time within 120 hours can also protect you against pregnancy, but it is advisable that you pop it immediately after sex (preferably within 3 hours).

Another plus factor of ellaOne is that you can take it during your current menstrual cycle. But if there is any unusual delay in your next period, or if you experience abnormal bleeding, talk to your doctor and get a pregnancy test done.

Who should not take ulipristal acetate?

The effectiveness of this pill is Cytotec cochabamba not tested in women who are under 18 years of age. Also, do not take it when you are already pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are already using another emergency contraceptive. In case you have severe asthma but cannot fully control it by taking oral glucocorticoid, ulipristal acetate may not be a safe choice for you.

How safe and effective is levonorgestrel?

Levonelle is another popular choice among sexually active women wanting to take charge of their life. You can take a levonorgestrel pill within 72 hours from unprotected sexual intercourse to avoid pregnancy. But just like ellaOne, the effectiveness of Levonelle increases if you take it quickly after sex, preferably within 12 hours. Levonorgestrel works by blocking the ovaries from releasing eggs and altering the natural lining of the womb. It is reported that about 95% women can prevent pregnancy by taking levonorgestrel within 24 hours after sex. The percentage drops to 85% when the pill is taken on the second day and 58% when taken on the third day.

You can take Levonelle any time during your current menstrual cycle. But do consult a doctor when the next cycle is delayed by 7 days or more.

Who should not take levonorgestrel?

If you are hypersensitive to any of the ingredients of Levonelle, including its active ingredient levonorgestrel, you should not take this medicine. A woman under 16 years of age should not take it unless prescribed by a doctor. ‘You need to talk to your doctor before taking levonorgestrel if you have severe hepatic dysfunction, malabsorption syndromes, galactose intolerance, glucose-galactose malabsorption or Lapp lactase deficiency.