Levonelle is the original 'morning-after pill' that can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It is a single dose, hormonal emergency contraceptive tablet that can be purchased online as an advance supply for women to keep on hand in case of a contraceptive accident or failure. Having a Levonelle tablet ready to take if needed saves the worry and hassle of seeing your doctor at short notice. It also ensures that you can take Levonelle as soon as possible after unprotected sex for maximum effectiveness.
You should continue using your regular method of contraception after taking Levonelle, it will not protect you for the rest of your cycle. You may also need to use condoms (if you are using the contraceptive pill or patch) to provide additional cover until your period comes.
Levonelle contains the active ingredient levonorgestrel and is taken as a single dose for emergency contraception. It must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive accident for it to be effective. The effectiveness of Levonelle at preventing pregnancy decreases the later you take it after unprotected sex:
Up to 24 hours: 95% effective.
24 - 48 hours: 85% effective.
48 - 72 hours: 58% effective.
As you can see it is important that Levonelle is taken as early as possible to ensure it is effective. Levonelle should not be taken more than 72 hours after an incident of unprotected sex as it is unlikely to be effective. If it has been more than 72 hours you should see your GP for other emergency contraceptive options.
The sooner Levonelle is taken, the more effective it is and therefore it should be taken as soon as possible after the incident. A very small minority of women feel sick after taking Levonelle, if you are sick within 3 hours of taking the tablet you must obtain a further supply as it will not be effective. If you need a further supply of emergency contraception due to sickness with Levonelle, you should speak to your doctor or local family planning clinic for a more suitable emergency contraceptive method.
Levonelle may cause your next period to come earlier or later than normal, and it may be heavier or lighter than usual. This is normal. If your period is more than five days late, you should take a preganacy test or see your GP.
Please read the Patient Information Leaflet before you take Levonelle.
- 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.
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.
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.
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