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Potential side effects of ellaOne

Potential side effects of ellaOne

ellaOne is a morning after pill taken after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. The other type of emergency contraception that is available is the emergency copper coil, or IUD which has to be implanted by a professional. 

ellaOne must be taken within five days (120 hours) of unprotected sex to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It's thought to reduce the risk of pregnancy to 9 in 1000 if taken in the first 24 hours, and it can still be effective for up to five days. This makes it more effective after the initial 24 hours than the more commonly used morning after pill, Levonorgestrel (sometimes branded Prevenelle or Norlevo).

Does ellaOne make you sick? Can it cause mood swings?

As with any treatment, ellaOne can cause common side effects such as nausea, tender breasts, headaches, mood swings, and tiredness. These tend to affect 1 in 10 people.

Less common ellaOne side effects

There are some side effects associated with taking ellaOne that are slightly less common, we have listed them below.

Uncommon side effects of ellaOne (affecting up to 1 in 100 people):

  • diarrhoea and wind
  • heartburn
  • dry mouth
  • irregular vaginal bleeding (i.e. between periods)
  • heavy periods and prolonged PMS
  • vaginal irritation or unusual discharge
  • changes to your appetite and sex drive
  • hot flushes
  • anxiety or agitation
  • trouble sleeping
  • sleepiness
  • migraine
  • visual disturbances
  • acne
  • itchy skin

Though many of these side effects are unpleasant, none of them should be cause for great alarm. They should also last for a short amount of time.

Note: The side effects of any medicine are always available in the Patient Information Leaflet that comes in the box.

What should I do if I am suffering from side effects after taking ellaOne?

Some of the side effects can be confused with pregnancy symptoms or complications of an ectopic pregnancy, so if you are suffering from any side effects after taking ellaOne, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist, even if the side effect is not listed here. 

In rare cases, some people who take ellaOne have an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the tablet and require immediate medical attention. You can find out the ingredients in ellaOne and check whether you might be allergic to it by reading the Patient Information Leaflet that comes with your medicine.

Can ellaOne delay your period?

The morning after pill can affect your period, making it earlier, later or more heavy than usual. You should bear in mind, if your period is more than 7 days late, extremely light or heavy, or you experience abdominal (stomach) pain, breast tenderness, vomiting or nausea, you may be pregnant.

How do you know if ellaOne has worked?

You will know if ellaOne has worked if your next period arrives. As mentioned above if it is more than 7 days late, unusually light or heavy, you experience symptoms such as abdominal (stomach) pain, breast tenderness, vomiting or nausea, you may be pregnant. You should do a pregnancy test right away. 

Where can I get ellaOne?

You can get ellaOne from sexual health centres, GP surgeries, pharmacies and contraception clinics. Alternatively, you can order it online from discreet, confidential health services like ours. Click here to learn more about ellaOne or make an order through our safe online clinic.

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Authors and editors

Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 23-08-2023