A contraceptive pill

Emergency contraception service

Emergency contraception helps to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex or if the contraception you and your partner have used has become impaired. To be effective, emergency contraception should be used as soon as possible – within the 72-hour window after unprotected sex.

The emergency contraceptive pill – the “morning-after pill”

The morning-after pill is more effective the earlier you take it. Some brands of the morning-after pill vary in the time that they are effective, from 3 days to 5 days. The emergency pill doesn’t usually produce side effects, but in some cases, someone may experience headaches, stomach pain and sickness.

If your condom has split during sex and contact has been made between you and your partner or you’ve missed a birth control pill, then emergency contraception should be taken as soon as possible. Call or visit one of our pharmacists for more details.

If you are ages 16 or over, you will be offered the morning after pill from one of our pharmacies if you are suitable and are in the timeframe where the pill is still effective.

If you are under 16, you may still be offered the “morning-after pill” under some NHS schemes. If not, we will be able to provide you with additional information about other options, such as family planning clinics.

You will not be suitable for emergency contraception if:

  • You are already pregnant
  • You had unprotected sex more than 5 days or 120 hours ago
  • You have an allergy to any of the ingredients within the pill (This can be discussed with a pharmacist)
  • You have a sugar intolerance
  • You have already taken a morning-after pill during this month’s menstrual cycle

It is important to inform your pharmacist or doctor if you fall into any of the following categories#

  • You’ve previously had an ectopic pregnancy
  • You live with a digestive order such as Chron’s disease
  • You are currently taking any other medication
  • If you are breastfeeding

The morning-after pill is not 100% effective. but there is a significantly higher chance of preventing an unwanted pregnancy if it is taken within 12 hours after unprotected sex. Studies have shown that the main ingredient in the pill prevented up to 95% of unwanted pregnancies when taken within 24 hours, 85% if taken within 25-48 hours and 58% if taken within 49-72 hours.

The morning after pill can not stop a pregnancy if you are already pregnant