EllaOne is an emergency hormonal contraceptive treatment manufactured and marketed by HRA Pharma pharmaceutical company. Its high effectiveness and significantly longer time frame for use as compared to competitors rely on the active ingredient of EllaOne, a pharmaceutical compound called ulipristal acetate. It produces the desired effects by acting on progesterone receptors in the body, thus reducing the chances of an unwanted pregnancy.

What’s on this page?

This medicine is taken after unprotected sex has occurred, with the exact time frame being as long as 5 days afterwards, which is significantly longer period than is the case with Levonelle, for example. As such, EllaOne is especially suitable for women who, for one reason or another, didn’t take some other emergency contraceptive in the first 48 to 72 hours after the unsafe intercourse.

How does EllaOne work?

Before tackling the exact mechanism of action of ulipristal acetate, we first need to address the question of biological processes behind the very possibility of getting pregnant, so we could precisely describe which points of this process are successfully compromised by the use or EllaOne.

The single most important precursor for becoming pregnant is, of course, ovulation. The ovary must produce an egg cell. After sexual intercourse, when sperm is released into the womb, it will travel towards the egg in an attempt to fertilise it. If the contact between the two occurs, the sperm cell will penetrate the egg, fertilizing it in the process. Once fertilized, the egg will travel into the uterus where it will attach itself to the lining and begin the long process of growing and maturing into an embryo.

This process is precisely guided by the hormone progesterone. This naturally produced substance not only regulates the release of egg cell, but it also controls the consistency and thickness of the uterine wall and vaginal mucus.

Once taken, EllaOne emergency pill will interfere with the activity of progesterone in the body, inhibiting the processes involved in the release of an egg cell, while at the same time making the uterine wall less suitable for implantation. In addition to this, it also plays a kind of contraceptive role by increasing the thickness of the vaginal fluid, making it harder for sperm cells to move around. It is important to note that unlike Levonelle and Upostelle, EllaOne does not contain synthetic progesterone.

When should EllaOne be used?

A morning after pill of whichever brand can’t be thought as an alternative to primary methods of birth control such as condom or regular contraceptive pills. On the contrary, this type of contraception is meant to be used only if primary methods were not present or failed in one way or another. Despite the fact that emergency contraception is very efficient in reducing the chances of an unwanted pregnancy, it shouldn’t be used often and ideally, its use should be completely avoided by ensuring the proper use of primary contraceptive methods. Morning after pill should be thought of as a last resort for prevention of an unwanted pregnancy.

While they are effective in this regard, morning after pills won’t be able to reduce the risk of potential STIs. So, if a barrier method such as a condom has failed during intercourse, you might have to discuss the risks of STIs with your partner. In this scenario, a doctor might recommend taking an STI test and subsequently, a proper STI treatment, if necessary.

How is EllaOne used?

Every box of EllaOne will come with an official patient information leaflet inside. There, you will find very precise and detailed instructions that should be followed to the letter in order to ensure the efficiency of the treatment, while at the same time minimizing the risk of potential adverse effects.

This medicine is designed to be used no more than 120 hours or 5 days following the unsafe intercourse. However, despite this rather long time frame, as compared to other medicines in the same category, the sooner you take EllaOne, the more effective it will be.

It’s important to note that even if this medicine is used as defined in the leaflet, the effectiveness will still be 99% maximum.

Some of the most general guidelines include:

  • Just one tablet is provided in the pack – take it as soon as possible
  • The success rate is directly linked to quickness of administration after unprotected intercourse
  • Follow the instructions provided precisely
  • If you start feeling sick after taking the medicine, read the relevant paragraph in the leaflet
  • If you get pregnant despite using this treatment, contact your doctor as soon as possible

What are EllaOne side effects?

As of now, there are numerous potential side effects that have been documented in women that have used this treatment. Of course, while not everyone will experience them, it is still important to get familiar with what could possibly go wrong with EllaOne prior to taking the pill.

While taking into consideration frequency of occurrence of different side effects, we can present them in the following way:

Frequency of occurrence Side effects
Common (1 in 10 users) Headache, dizziness, mood swings, stomach pain, feeling sick, muscle and back pain
Uncommon (1 in 100 users) Dryness of the mouth, heartburn, diarrhoea, increased menstrual bleeding and pain, vaginal inflammation and discharge, flushing, fever, anxiety, sleep issues
Rare (1 in 1000 users) Genital pain or itching, loss of concentration, vertigo, shaking, fainting, oversensitivity to light


EllaOne contraindications

As with most medicines, there are some situations when the use of this medicine might not be recommended. This can be the case if you are currently taking some other type of medicine that could adversely interact with EllaOne, if you have an underlying medical condition or if you are allergic on some of the ingredients of EllaOne tablet.

EllaOne interactions

This morning after pill should not be used if you are currently taking:

  • Medication for epilepsy
  • HIV drugs
  • Antibiotics (for bacterial infection treatment)
  • St John’s wort

Is it safe for me to use EllaOne?

You shouldn’t use this medicine if you are affected by any of the following conditions:

  • Liver dysfunction
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Severe allergies

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

While there is no evidence to suggest that EllaOne could harm a developed pregnancy, one should never use it if pregnancy is confirmed. What’s more, if you tried to prevent pregnancy by EllaOne with no success, it is important to visit the doctor and check if the baby is developing outside the womb.

This medicine is not recommended for women who are currently breastfeeding. If it is unavoidable, it is recommended that you avoid breastfeeding for a whole week after taking EllaOne, while pumping and discarding the breast milk during this period.