Morning After Pill (Levonelle) Guide

The Morning After Pill is an emergency form of contraceptive that really only ought to be taken as a last resort, when other forms of contraceptive didn't work or if contraceptive wasn't used at all.  Despite its name the morning after pill can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex, although the sooner after unprotected sex the morning after pill is taken, the more likely it is that it will work effectively. 

Taking the pill

The morning after pill is very easy to use and take.  It is a single pill which needs to be taken with a meal and water as soon as possible after the unprotected sex has taken place.  Previously the pill came in a different, weaker form and two needed to be taken with a 12 hour interval.  Now, however, the system has changed to a higher, single dose.  Most people turn to the morning after pill due to other barrier forms of contraceptives not working, (i.e. when a condom splits), or due to no contraception being used at all. 

Levonelle contains a high dose of a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone, called levenogestrel, which works to change the state of your womb lining and egg production to ensure that no eggs are released, and if an egg is already released it cannot become fixed to the womb lining.  The morning after pill will only work if you are not already pregnant, once you become pregnant the pill will have no effect and your pregnancy will continue unless you opt to have an abortion.  This means that Levonelle doesn’t cause an abortion, it prevents a pregnancy as any other form of contraception would.

Safety & concerns

The use of the morning after pill is considered relatively safe, and most people can take the drug.  There are a few conditions that will affect the result of Levonelle, such as HIV treatments and St. John’s Wort, however for a normal, healthy woman there are little concerns about taking the pill.  If you are on medications or are concerned about taking the morning after pill due to previous health reasons then it is best that you visit your GP to obtain it so that they can inform you of the risks that it could pose. 

There are few side effects to the morning after pill, especially as the drug has been advanced and modernised.  You ought to be in no real discomfort, although sometimes you may experience some cramping, headaches, irregular periods, weight loss or gain and depression.  These will leave quickly as your hormone levels return to normal.  If you experience any of these side-effects for a longer duration that you ought, medical advice should be sought.  There may be an underlying problem that you are suffering from or even an ectopic pregnancy.  If you have any concerns then seeking the advice of a medical professional is a good idea, and will put your mind at ease. 

There are ways to help your body to cope with taking the morning after pill.  These include:

  • Drinking water and milk
  • Taking the pill after a good meal
  • Taking anti-nausea medication
  • Resting
  • Taking the pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex, and not taking it too often

Where to get the morning after pill

You can get the morning after pill from a number of places.  The best place to obtain it would be at your doctors, or at a family planning or GUM clinic.  This way you would be able to have an in-depth discussion with a qualified health professional about your situation and whether the pill is the best thing to take.  It might be that a coil would work better for you.  You can buy the morning after pill if you are over the age of 16 and are otherwise fit and healthy.  Most high street pharmacies will sell Levonelle, as do online pharmacies such as Lloyds.  If you are buying the pill from one of these places then you will have to answer questions regarding your health history, and you will also have to pay between £20 and £25. 

The sooner you take the morning after pill the more likely it is that it will work.  It is most effective when taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex having a 95% success rate.  This steadily decreases the more time you let lapse.  Most women find the side-effects are minimal, and they don’t experience bad cramping or headaches although everyone is different and it might be that your experience is different.  Generally most women are happy to take the morning after pill and look at it as another, albeit emergency, form of contraception rather than abortion.  The morning after pill prevents a pregnancy from starting, and is consistently used to a good effect. 

Buying the morning after pill Online

The morning after pill is now available online, from a wide range of websites including pharmacies and market-places.  Buying Levonelle online is only really a good idea as a precaution.  If you really need to use the morning after pill then you need to take it as soon as possible, which means going to the nearest shop rather than waiting for delivery.  It might take a while to process your order online, and sometimes there can be confusions with mail so it would be best to obtain the pill from another source if it is a real emergency.

Buying the morning after pill online allows you to be prepared.  Generally it is promoted that you buy the pill online to then store away, making it easy for you to get at quickly should the need arise.  If this is why you are buying the morning after pill make sure that you mark the use by date so that it doesn’t expire before you need to use it. 

It doesn’t matter where you buy the morning after pill from, it is the same from each source and will contain all of the information that you will need to take it properly and safely. 

Morning after pill & Sex

The morning after pill should not be used as a regular form of contraceptive, and it is advised that you do not exceed one pill per menstrual cycle.  There are no known risks to taking the drug often, however it will affect your menstrual cycles and is not completely effective against pregnancy.  If you are sexually active then you ought to be using a regular form of contraception such as the oral pill or using condoms, or even both to play it safe.  Your GP or family planning clinic can talk through the now large number of options available to you and help you to decide which is right for you. 

The morning after pill does not have any influence over the exchange of sexually transmitted infections or disease, (STI’s/STD’s), and if you have had unprotected sex then you ought to visit a GUM clinic to have a test.  STD’s can be devastating, some can leave you unfertile while others are extremely uncomfortable.  It is best to know about and treat any that you have before there are any serious long-term implications. 

Missing the morning after pill window

If you have missed the deadline of 72 hours after having unprotected sex then there are other options for you.  An emergency IUD, (or a coil), can be fitted up to five days after unprotected sex, however having one fitted is quite invasive and it may be hard to achieve as getting an appointment for it can be difficult.  

Morning After Pill & Pregnancy »