Levonelle consists of a single dose medication and is taken by women who either had unprotected sex or fear that their normal contraception may have failed e.g. forgetting to take a contraceptive tablet or because of a torn condom. If taken within 72 hours of the incident, there is a 95 percent chance of it being effective and preventing any unplanned pregnancy.
This emergency contraceptive tablet works with only one dose and can be kept on hand for any contraceptive accident or failure. Levonelle can be bought online and saves the need for an emergency appointment with your own doctor.
Levonorgestrel is the active ingredient and its effectiveness is:
Within the first 24 hours: 95% effective
24 to 48 hours: 85% effective
48 to 72 hours: 58% effective.
Levonelle may have no effect, if taken after longer than 72 hours after unprotected sexual activity. In such cases, consult your local doctor or there is the option of using EllaOne emergency contraception tablet.
Very few women are sick after taking levonelle but, should this occur within three hours of having taken the tablet, it is necessary to take a second replacment tablet, as the first dose will not have had sufficient time to be effective. If sickness still occurs, speak with your local doctor about a different emergency contraceptive method.
The feeling of being sick or nausea will not effect Levonelle.
Levonelle may alter the regularity of your next period and may also lead to a much lighter or heavier period than is normal. If the next period proves to be more than five days late, either take a pregnancy test or consult your doctor.
Levonelle protects you only for that one unprotected occasion and so contraception continues to be needed during the rest of the menstrual cycle. If you are using the patch or the contraceptive pill, you may also need the added protection of a condom for the rest of that menstrual period.
The active ingredient of 1.5mg of levonorgestrel works by stopping the release of eggs from the ovaries and also by preventing fertilisation of a released egg or its attaching itself to the lining of the womb.
For anyone under the age of sixteen, advice must first be sought from a local doctor or the family planning clinic.
- Levonelle should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex; the sooner it is taken, the more effective it is at preventing unwanted pregnancy.
- It is only effective up to 72 hours after, if it has been longer than this you should not take Levonelle and see your GP to discuss emergency contraception.
- If you are sick or suffer with diarrhoea within 2 hours of taking Levonelle it may not have been absorbed and will not be effective. You will need to obtain another supply as soon as possible.
Levonelle is not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, however it is 95% effective after 24 hours. It is important to try to take it within this window if possible. After this the success rate becomes 85% and 58% after 48 and 72 hours respectively. If you cannot take Levonelle within the first 24 - 48 hours after unprotected sex, you may wish to see your GP to discuss alternatives such as EllaOne.
If your next period has not arrived five or more days from when it was due you should take a pregnancy test.
If you do experience side effects from Levonelle the most common can include abdominal pains, nausea, sickness, diarrhoea, dizziness, breast tenderness, headaches, spotting or abnormal bleeding. Taking Levonelle with some food may help to reduce any nausea you may experience.
A very small number of people may be allergic to Levonelle. This will show as a skin reaction including itchiness, rash and swelling of the face. If this occurs you should see you doctor immeidately.
If you experience any adverse effects from taking your prescribed medicine it is important to let your doctor know immediately. In a medical emergency you should contact the emergency services or go straight to your local Accident & Emergency.
The following medicines may make Levonelle less effective at preventing pregnancy:
- Barbiturates and other medicines used to treat epilepsy (e.g.primidone, phenytoin, and carbamazepine)
- Medicines used to treat tuberculosis (e.g. rifampicin, rifabutin)
- Ritonavir (used to treat HIV)
- Griseofulvin (used to treat fungal infections)
- St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum - a herbal remedy)
- Ciclosporin (suppresses the immune system)
If you take any of the above medicines you should discuss a more effective form of contraception with your GP or local family planning clinic.
If you suffer with any of the following conditions, Levonelle may not be suitable for you and could be ineffective:
- Bowel disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease) that interferes with the way you digest your food
- Severe liver problems
- If you have ever had an ectopic pregnancy (where the baby develops somewhere outside the womb)
- If you have ever had a disease called salpingitis (inflammation of the Fallopian tubes)
If you take any of the above apply you should discuss a more effective form of contraception with your GP or local family planning clinic.
Do not take Levonelle if your period is already overdue as you may already be pregnant. You should see your GP or family planning clinic. If you have already taken Levonelle but suspect that you may now be pregnant, there is no evidence that Levonelle will harm your baby.
Levonelle should not replace your regular method of contraception, such as the pill or condoms; these are more reliable and effective.
Please read the Patient Information Leaflet enclosed with your medicines before taking Levonelle.
Each Levonelle tablet contains 1.5mg (1500mg) of the hormone levonorgestrel as the active ingredient.
It also contains the following inactive ingredients: potato starch, maize starch, colloidal silica anhydrous, magnesium stearate (E572), talc (E533b), lactose monohydrate.