Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception means contraception used soon after unprotected sex or if you think your regular method of contraception has let you down.

Emergency contraception can be provided by a variety of  methods.These include two different tablets (emergency hormonal contraception) or having an intrauterine device (IUD/coil) fitted. Your clinician or pharmacists will need to ask questions about your menstrual cycle (periods) and about when unprotected sex happened in order to decide which is the most suitable method for you to use.

Emergency pill options

  • Ullipristal Acetate (ellaOne), taken in a stat (one off) dose of 30mg (licensed to be used up to 120 hours (5 days) following unprotected sexual intercourse).
  • Levonorgestrel (Levonelle), taken in a stat dose of 1500mg (licensed to be used up to 72 hours( 3 days) following unprotected sexual intercourse).
  • It is really important that emergency contraception is requested as soon as possible after unprotected sex in order for the right type of emergency contraception to be issued and to increase the chances of it working effectively.

Both these methods are available at all Sefton Sexual Health Service clinics and some community pharmacists in Sefton. Emergency pill options can also be available from hospital A&E Departments and NHS Walk-In Centres.

In our clinics and some pharmacists, women opting for either of the EHC choices can be provided with the opportunity to “quick start” a contraceptive method of their choice or they could be provided with a “bridging” method in the short term until they can access a provider with the ability to facilitate choice from the full contraceptive menu.

  • Copper intrauterine contraception

The other emergency contraception option is to have an IUD/coil fitted. This is a small plastic and copper devise which is fitted into the uterus (womb) and can be used for up to 5 days (or more) after unprotected sexual intercourse (UPSI). This is the most effective method of emergency contraception and once fitted can be left in place for up to 10 years providing ongoing contraceptive cover. This method is only available in specialist sexual health services such as Sefton Sexual Health Service, or from some GPs. Only a specially trained clinician would fit this method.


Pharmacies supplying emergency contraception.

Emergency contraception is free and available from the following pharmacies as well as all Sefton Sexual health Service clinics. It is also available from other community pharmacies not listed on the link. However, if not listed you may be expected to pay. During Bank Holidays you may wish to call before you visit a pharmacy to check opening times.