Is the morning after pill available over the counter?

Can you get emergency contraception without a prescription?

What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception. It is used to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. There are two main types of morning after pill: ellaOne and Levonelle. Levonelle can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, whereas ellaOne can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. It is important to note, that both ellaOne and Levonelle are more effective at preventing pregnancy, the sooner they are taken. This is because they work by preventing fertilisation of the egg cell. If fertilisation has already occurred, the morning after pill will not work.

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Levonelle from £12.05
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ellaOne from £23.65
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Can you buy the morning after pill over the counter in the UK?

The morning after pill is available over the counter in the UK, following a short consultation with a pharmacist. This is to ensure that you take the right type of pill and that it will be safe for you. They will also discuss other forms of contraception and briefly outline any side effects that you may experience as a result of taking the morning after pill. The morning after pill is also available free of charge from your GP and family planning/sexual health clinics. You can order the morning after pill for future use from Dr Felix, so that is your regular contraception does fail, you have the pill ready and waiting, so you can take it when it is most effective. 

 

Alternative treatments

The IUD (intrauterine device), also known as the coil, is an alternative method of emergency contraception. It has the added benefit of also being a long-acting method of contraception, protecting you from pregnancy long term. The IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after you have had unprotected sex, but it should be fitted as soon as possible to be effective. The IUD works by stopping the egg from being fertilised, or, if it has been fertilised, it stops it from implanting in the uterus. The IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraception but can make your periods heavier if you use it as contraception.

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