- Also known as ‘the morning after pill’
- Take one tablet within 72 hours of unprotected sexual activity
- Branded version of Levonorgestrel
NOTE: After selecting this product, you will need to complete a short assessment, so we can make sure this medication is suitable for you.
Levonelle is a ‘morning after pill’ used to prevent pregnancy and contains 1.5mg of the active ingredient levonorgestrel in the pill. It can be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected intercourse or if the contraceptive method used has failed, however it is more effective if taken within 12 hours rather than on the 3rd day. Levonelle is not a long term contraceptive, so it will not continue to protect against pregnancy. If you have unprotected intercourse again, you may become pregnant.
How does Levonelle work?
The chance of becoming pregnant is highest during the time that women are ovulating, which is when their ovaries release an egg. Ovulation occurs 12 to 14 days before the next period begins, so the chances of becoming pregnant is highest if you have unprotected sex during this period of the menstrual cycle.
Levonelle only works if it is taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex. Levonelle works by stopping or delaying ovulation. If an egg has already been released, Levonelle can prevent sperm from fertilising the egg, hence preventing the pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, Levonelle will not work. If you have already had unprotected sexual intercourse in the same menstrual cycle, you may already be pregnant and so Levonelle will not work. If you suspect that you may already be pregnant, please mention this during your online consultation.
Levonelle is a single tablet taken within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex or if your usual method of contraception has failed. In rare circumstances you may be prescribed 2 tablets.
How Effective is Levonelle as a morning after pill?
Although Levonelle is licensed to be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, it is more effective if taken within 12 to 24 hours of unprotected sex. Levonelle will still work if it is taken on the 3rd day, however it may not be as effective and there is more chance of it not working. Levonelle is ineffective if taken after 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse.
Cautions and Warnings of Levonelle
After taking morning after pill Levonelle, you may experience spotting or bleeding between periods (intermenstrual bleeding) and your period may be heavier or lighter than usual and also shorter or longer than expected. Your next period may also arrive late or early.
If you experience a period delay of 5 or more days after taking Levonelle, you may be pregnant and this should be investigated. You should consult your doctor as soon as possible if you experience unexplained bleeding or any abdominal pain after taking Levonelle as you may be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside of the womb. Levonelle does not increase your chances of an ectopic pregnancy, however ectopic pregnancies require urgent medical attention.
Levonorgestrel (the active ingredient in Levonelle) is excreted in breast milk, so if you are breastfeeding you should take Levonelle immediately after breastfeeding to reduce exposure to an infant.
The following medications may reduce the effectiveness of Levonelle:
● St. John’s Wort
Regular contraception and morning after pill Levonelle
Levonelle is a ‘morning after pill’ and is only an emergency contraception to be used after unprotected sexual intercourse. It is not a regular contraception and it should only be used if you have had unprotected sex or if your usual contraception has failed, such as a condom splitting or missing 1 or more doses of your regular contraceptive pill. Regular contraception is a more reliable and effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Emergency contraception should only be used occasionally, if you find yourself requiring Levonelle or any other emergency contraception on a regular basis, you should consider using regular contraception, such as a condom, the combined pill, the progestogen-only pill (the mini-pill), the implant, the coil, a hormone patch pr a vaginal ring.
Depending on the contraception that you currently use, after taking Levonelle, you should take your next contraceptive pill as usual, insert a new vaginal ring or apply a new patch within 12 hours of taking Levonelle. However, your regular contraception will not be effective immediately after taking ‘the morning after pill’ so you should avoid having sex or use a condom for 7 days with an exception of 9 days if your regular contraception is the Qlaira pill and 2 days if you take the progestogen-only pill (POP), also known as the mini-pill.
Alternatives to Levonelle
There are 2 types of emergency contraception:
-Emergency contraceptive pill - Levonelle or EllaOne
-The intrauterine device (IUD), also known as the coil
The coil is the most effective form of emergency contraception and it must be fitted within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex. The coil can be left in and be continued to use as a regular form of contraception for up to 10 years. It can also be removed whenever you would like.
EllaOne contains ulipristal acetate, which is the active ingredient. It can be taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sexual intercourse, however it is not suitable if you have severe asthma or if you take certain medications.
Taking Levonelle whilst Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Levonorgestrel (the active ingredient in Levonelle) is excreted in breast milk, so if you are breastfeeding you should take Levonelle immediately after breastfeeding to reduce exposure to an infant. For extra precaution, try not to breastfeed for 8 hours after taking Levonelle.
There is no evidence that Levonelle will cause harm to a foetus if you are already pregnant, however there is not enough research to know this for certain. If you suspect that you are already pregnant, please consult your GP.
Swallow the tablet whole with water, do not crush or chew the tablet.
If you are breastfeeding, you should take Levonelle immediately after breastfeeding then do not breastfeed again for 8 hours.
One Levonelle tablet should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of having unprotected sex, as soon as possible to ensure maximum effectiveness. It must not be taken after 72 hours of unprotected sex. If you vomit within 3 hours of taking Levonelle, another Levonelle tablet should be taken. Levonelle should not be used more than once in the same menstrual cycle and it should not be taken with or in the same menstrual cycle as EllaOne without consulting your doctor.
What is Levonelle?
The active ingredient in Levonelle is 1500 micrograms of levonorgestrel. The other ingredients are potato starch, maize starch, colloidal silica anhydrous, magnesium stearate, talc and lactose monohydrate.
How does Levonelle work?
Levonelle works by stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg. If an egg has already been released, Levonelle prevents the sperm from fertilising the egg, preventing a pregnancy.
How Effective is Levonelle?
Although Levonelle is licensed to be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, it is a more effective ‘morning after pill’ if taken within 12 to 24 hours of unprotected sex. Levonelle will still work if it is taken on the 3rd day, however it may not be as effective and there is more chance of it not working. Levonelle is ineffective if taken after 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse.
When should I take Levonelle?
Levonelle should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sexual intercourse in order for it to be the most effective. It must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex and must not be taken after 72 hours. If it has been more than 72 hours after unprotected sex, Levonelle will not work and you should seek further help.
If you are breastfeeding, you should take the ‘morning after pill’ immediately after breastfeeding and you should not breastfeed again for 8 hours.
How do I take Levonelle?
Swallow the tablet whole with water, do not crush or chew the tablet. The tablet must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex.
What should I do if I vomit after taking Levonelle?
If you vomit within 3 hours of taking Levonelle, another tablet must be taken as the original will not have had time to absorb into your system.
Why is my period irregular after taking Levonelle?
Levonelle interferes with your menstrual cycle, which can cause your next period to come early or late, it may also be heavier or lighter than usual and it may also last longer or shorter than usual. If your period is delayed for 5 or more days after taking Levonelle you should consult your doctor.
Does taking Levonelle cause period bleeding?
It is normal to experience irregular spotting and bleeding in the days after taking Levonelle.
How many times can I take Levonelle?
You should only use Levonelle once per menstrual cycle. It can be used more than once in the same cycle, however, if you find yourself requiring it regularly you should discuss regular contraception with your doctor as it is more effective than Levonelle at preventing pregnancy. If you take Levonelle more than once in the same cycle, it is less effective and it is more likely to irregulate your menstrual cycle (period).
Does Levonelle work during ovulation?
Ovulation occurs around day 12 to 14 of your menstrual cycle, you are most fertile in this period. If you have unprotected sex whilst ovulating, Levonelle should still work but it may be less effective and it is advisory to have the coil (IUD) fitted as well.
Will Levonelle prevent a sexually transmitted disease/infection?
No. The only way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases is by using a condom. If you have not used a condom during sex and are worried about getting a sexually transmitted disease, you should seek advise from your doctor, sexual health clinic, nurse or pharmacist.
What if I have taken too much Levonelle?
There have been no reports of serious side effects from taking too many tablets at once. You may feel sick, be sick or experience vaginal bleeding. You should consult your GP if you take too many tablets, especially if you have been sick as the tablet may not have worked.
Is there any reason I cannot take Levonelle?
You cannot take Levonelle if you have Crohn’s disease or if you take any medication that affects the way you absorb food. You also cannot take it if you have had a previous ectopic pregnancy, previous inflammation of the fallopian tubes or if you have any problems with your liver.
Levonelle is generally well tolerated by most people, however just like all medications, side effects can occur, although not everyone experiences them. Common side effects include:
● Nausea (feeling like you are going to be sick)
● Lower abdominal pain
● Irregular bleeding of your next period (it may be early/late, lighter/heavier or shorter/longer)
If you have a history of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the womb), you are more likely to experience this again. Sudden pain in your abdomen or unexplained bleeding may indicate an ectopic pregnancy and you should seek urgent medical care. Levonelle is not advised in this case.
If your period is 5 or more days late or unusually light or heavy, you should consult your GP.