Produced by world-famous international pharmaceutical company Bayer, Levonelle is a branded emergency birth control pill which you can buy in the UK with a valid prescription. As a morning after pill, Levonelle was intended for use in those cases where primary method of contraception failed or hasn’t been used at all. This might happen if a condom has been ripped, a birth control diaphragm broken or when a regular contraceptive pill has been missed.
What’s on this page?
When used within the recommended 72 hours after unprotected sex, Levonelle is highly effective with success rate of 84%. This simple one-time treatment should, however, be taken as soon as possible following the unsafe intercourse, with many experts claiming that the time frame plays a crucial role in determining overall efficiency of the medicine. Within the first 12 hours, according to some, the success rate can be as high as to reach 99%.
How morning after pills work?
Before diving into the mechanism of action behind Levonelle (also known as Levonelle 1500), we first need to consider the different biological processes that the female reproductive system goes through in order to prepare the body for a potential pregnancy. Naturally, the first process to mention and certainly the most important in the whole process is ovulation. Ovulation takes place every month – it’s a process marked by the release of an egg from the ovary into the womb. Once there, egg cell is ready to be fertilized by a sperm cell. If that happens, the egg will migrate to the uterus and get attached to the endometrium, lining of the uterus, where it will begin transformation into an embryo.
Ovulation is directly related to the activity of progesterone, a hormone which plays a crucial role not only in ovulation, but also in determining the density of cervical fluid. Once the levels of progesterone drop, eggs will get produced by the ovary.
How Levonelle helps prevent an unwanted pregnancy?
The high success rates of Levonelle rely on the active ingredient of this medicine, levonorgestrel, synthetic progesterone, unlike EllaOne. It works by tricking the body into detecting higher levels of progesterone – when that occurs, the reproductive system will “think” that the ovulation has already occurred and will thus not release an egg. At the same time, this substance will take a kind of contraceptive role by thickening the cervical fluid and subsequently making it harder to for sperm cells to reach the egg.
When should Levonelle be used?
Emergency contraception isn’t an alternative to primary methods of birth control such as condom or regular contraceptive pills. Instead, it is meant to be used if those methods were not present or failed in one way or another. However, it is still very efficient in reducing the chances of an unwanted pregnancy via already discussed mechanism.
However, 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.
How to use Levonelle morning after pill?
When using emergency contraception, it is of uttermost importance to precisely follow the instructions provided in the official patient information leaflet that is issued with every pack of Levonelle. Doing so is the only way to optimise the chances of success while simultaneously reducing the risk of any adverse side effects. It is also important to note that even when applied properly in a timely manner, this emergency treatment will still be efficient in maximum 99% of cases.
Some of the most general guidelines can be presented as follows:
- Levonelle is a one-time pill that should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex
- Levonelle should be used no later than 72 hours or 3 days after intercourse
- The sooner you take the medicine, the more effective you will be
- If you are feeling sick after taking the medicine, consult the leaflet for direction for your specific situation or alternatively contact your doctor
What are Levonelle side effects?
Some side effects have been documented when using Levonelle. Based on the frequency of occurrence, they can be presented as follows:
|Frequency of Occurrence
|Very common (1 in 10 users or more)
|Drowsiness, irregular menstrual bleeding, feeling sick, lower abdominal pain, headache
|Common (1 in 10 users or less)
|Delayed menstrual period, being sick, breast tenderness, diarrhoea, dizziness
|Very rare (1 in 10.000 users)
|Skin rash, urticarial, pruritus, facial swelling, painful periods
Can Levonelle be used with other medicines?
There are some medicines which might have an adverse effect on the efficiency of Levonelle or vice versa which is why it’s very important to tell your doctor about any medicines you might be taking at the moment in order to get the most precise info about whether you are suitable for this emergency contraception.
Some of the medicines that are known to produce unwanted effects in combination with Levonelle include:
- Epilepsy medicines (primidone, phenytoin, carbamazepine)
- Tuberculosis medicines (rifampicin, rifabutin)
- St John’s wort
There are several situations when the use of Levonelle won’t be recommended. This can occur when you already have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, severe liver problems or a history of ectopic pregnancy and salpingitis.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding notes
You should never use this medicine if you are already pregnant. While there is nothing to suggest that Levonelle could harm a developed pregnancy, it is still very important to check whether the pregnancy is developing outside of the womb.
If you are currently breastfeeding, it’s better to ask your doctor for advice prior to using Levonelle. It is generally recommended to avoid breastfeeding for at least 8 hours after using this emergency contraception, while still pumping and discarding breast milk during this time.