Levonelle is a type of emergency contraception which is used after having unprotected sex to prevent unplanned pregnancy. It's more commonly known as the morning after pill.
It is thought that Levonelle works in two ways: by preventing an egg from being released from the ovaries and stopping sperm from reaching and fertilising an egg within the womb. Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours of having sexual intercourse or it will not work.
Levonelle should only be used in emergencies, it should not be used as a regular method of contraception. Levonelle has not been tested for prolonged or regular use. It contains a high dose of hormones which can produce stronger side effects and have an effect on your menstrual cycle. In addition, Levonelle is not as effective as other methods of contraception, so other methods can be more reliable.
Levonelle is available from Dr Felix as a stand by treatment only. We do not offer it as an emergency treatment due to the time sensitive nature of emergency contraception. While you can take Levonelle up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, it's most effective within the first 12 hours and should be taken as soon as possible.
You can get Levonelle for emergency use from your GP, local sexual health clinic or pharmacy.
The sooner you take Levonelle the more effective it is. On average, it has an efficiency rate of 95% in the first 24 hours, 85% after 48 hours and 58% within the 72 hours.
Levonelle will start to work as soon as you take it as long as it's taken within the 72 hour window. However, Levonelle is less effective, the longer you leave it. ellaOne can be effective up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex.
The active ingredient in Levonelle is 1.5mg of levonorgestrel.
The inactive ingredients in Levonelle are: maize starch, potato starch, magnesium, colloidal silica anhydrous, stearate (E572), talc (E533b), lactose monohydrate.
Take the tablet as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. It should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. It can be taken up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse but works best within the first 12 hours.
Levonelle is taken as a single tablet containing a dose of 1.5mg of levonorgestrel.
Common side effects may include:
Less common side effects can include:
Levonelle is not suitable to take if:
The treatment may not be suitable if:
If you are under 16 years of age you need to see a doctor or visit a family planning clinic to get access to emergency contraception.
If you have used the following medications within the past four weeks then this can stop Levonelle from working correctly:
You may be given an IUD instead which is a long term contraceptive, known as the coil, that also works as a method of emergency contraception.
Alcohol does not have an effect on Levonelle.
The main difference between the two types of emergency contraception is that ellaOne can be taken within five days of having unprotected sex whereas Levonelle must be taken within three days. Both work in similar ways and are more likely to be effective when taken early on.
Levonelle should only be used by adults over 16 as there is limited research in women under 16. It may be prescribed to women under 16, at the discretion of a doctor.
Levonelle will not have any harmful effects if you are already pregnant. It will not terminate a pregnancy and does not work in place of an abortion pill.
If you vomit after taking Levonelle you should take another pill right away. If you continue to vomit, then see a GP or pharmacist right away as they may be able to give you a different treatment.
Levonelle is not an abortion pill and it cannot terminate an existing pregnancy. It is a form of contraception which means it can only prevent conception from taking place.
Studies have concluded that taking Levonelle will not cause harm to an unborn baby if you are already pregnant and therefore cannot cause a miscarriage.
If you have previously experienced an ectopic pregnancy then you may be more at risk of having one after taking Levonelle. If this applies to you then let your doctor know so that they can check that everything is healthy.
A common side effect of Levonelle is that it can affect your next period. It is common for your next period to come earlier or later than usual. In addition, your period could be heavier or lighter. An early sign of pregnancy can be changes in your period, therefore, it is recommended that you take a pregnancy test after your next period is due, just to be sure.
Taking Levonelle will not affect the results of a pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests check for a hormone called HCG, which is only produced if you are pregnant.
You can take Levonelle as often as you need to but it should only be used in emergencies. If you find that you need to take Levonelle regularly, an alternative method of contraception may be more suitable for you.
Levonelle is most effective when it is taken within the first 12 hours. Levonelle effectiveness decreases, the longer you leave it after unprotected sex, however it can be effective up to 72 hours later. If you are unable to take Levonelle quickly, ellaOne may be more effective. ellaOne can be effective for up to 5 days after unprotected sex.