Levonelle is an emergency birth control pill, which you can only buy in the UK with a prescription. It is designed for cases where a primary method of contraception has failed, or not been used. Examples of this might be a ripped condom, broken birth control diaphragm, or cases where a user has forgotten to take a regular contraceptive pill.
- 84% effective when used within 72 hours
- Simple one-time treatment
- Popular and branded product
Manufactured by Bayer, Levonelle is estimated to have an 84% success rate when it is applied within 72 hours (or 3 days) of unprotected sex; however it is thought to be even more effective the sooner it is applied. Ideally, it should be taken within 12 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. It should never be used more than 72 hours afterwards.
Before explaining how Levonelle 1500 prevents pregnancy, it is essential first to know what processes the female reproductive system goes through in order to prepare for potential pregnancy. Ovulation takes place every month, and involves the release of an egg from the ovary, into the womb. After it has emerged, this egg is ready for penetration by sperm. If the egg is successfully fertilised, it then migrates to the uterus and attaches to the endometrium, where it begins its maturation into an embryo.
The process of ovulation is managed by a hormone called progesterone, which also plays a part in determining the density of fluid in the cervix. Eggs are produced by the ovary when levels of this hormone drop.
The active constituent of Levonelle is an artificial version of this hormone called levonorgestrel. It stops the generation of an egg by convincing the body that ovulation has already occurred, and performs an additional contraceptive function by thickening cervical fluid. This stops an egg from being there for a sperm to inseminate; and makes it harder for sperm to reach an egg which is present.
Emergency contraception is not an alternative to primary methods of birth control. But it can work to reduce the chances of pregnancy beginning in some situations.
If a barrier method such as a condom has split or failed to work during sex, then you should discuss the potential risks of STIs with your GP. If you are not in a monogamous relationship, a doctor may recommend that you take an STI test.
If you are not using a long-term method of contraception, such as the birth control pill, then it may be of benefit to you to discuss this with your doctor.
Please note that we do not provide this treatment through our site.
It is vital to follow the guidelines set out in the patient information leaflet when using this treatment. Doing so will optimise its chances of success and reduce the risk of unwanted side effects. It is also important to note that even though you may apply this product in the correct manner, it does not provide a guarantee to stop pregnancy in all cases.
- Levonelle is a one-time pill. Take it as soon as you can after unprotected sex has taken place and no later than 72 hours (3 days) afterwards. The sooner you take it, the more effective it will be.
- If you are sick after taking this tablet, consult the leaflet for specific directions, or ask your family planning nurse or doctor.
These instructions are only provided as a guide. Refer to those contained in the patient information leaflet before use.
If you experience any side effects, you should notify your doctor right away.
Very common (1 in 10 people or more):
Drowsiness, irregular menstrual bleeding, feeling sick, lower abdominal pain, headache.
Common (1 in 10 people or less):
Delayed period, being sick, tender breasts, diarrhoea, dizziness.
Very rare (1 in 10000 people or less):
Skin rash, urticaria, pruritus, facial swelling, period pain.
The information provided here is not comprehensive. For a more complete list of side effects, please refer to the leaflet supplied.
Taking it with other medicines
During consultation, you should tell your doctor if you are using any other treatments, as some may affect the way Levonelle works. This pill may interact with the following:
barbiturates or medicines used to treat epilepsy, such as primidone, phenytoin, and
carbamazepine; medicines for tuberculosis, for example, rifampicin, rifabutin; ritonavir; griseofulvin; St John’s wort; and ciclosporin.
Conditions to look out for
Some conditions may make this product unsuitable for use, so it is important to let your prescriber know your medical history before using it. A doctor may recommend that you do not use this pill if you have Crohn’s disease, severe liver problems, or have ever had an ectopic pregnancy or salpingitis.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Do not take this medication if you are already pregnant.
If you become pregnant despite using Levonelle, see your GP as soon as possible. There is no evidence to suggest that Levonelle will harm a pregnancy, but they may need to check that the pregnancy is not developing outside the womb.
If you are breastfeeding, ask your doctor for advice. It is recommended that you do not breastfeed for 8 hours after taking Levonelle, but you should continue to pump and discard breast milk during this time.
Please read the more detailed information in the patient leaflet fully prior to use.
Driving and using machines
If you experience any side effects such as dizziness or tiredness, do not drive or use machinery and let your GP know.
This treatment contains lactose. Check with your prescriber before using it if you have an intolerance to any sugars.
Can I still drink alcohol?
Yes. Alcohol is not known to affect the function of this pill.
Will I still be able to drive?
Yes. However, if you notice any side effects which could make driving dangerous, refrain from doing so and visit your nearest doctor or hospital as soon as possible.
Can I take the medicine while pregnant?
No. It should not be used if you are already pregnant. If you become pregnant after using Levonelle, see your doctor. Users who are breastfeeding are advised not to do so for at least 8 hours after using this treatment. See the leaflet provided for more details.
How should I store it?
Keep it in a safe place, away from sources of direct light and moisture.
Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?
You should avoid using Levonelle if you are allergic to any of the following containing ingredients: levonorgestrel, potato starch, maize starch, colloidal silica anhydrous, magnesium stearate, talc and lactose monohydrate.
Is it available over-the-counter?
No. Levonelle is only available in the UK with a prescription.
Is it right for me?
Talk to your GP or family planning nurse to find out more about the morning after pills available, and whether they are suitable.
Please note we do not sell this pill through our site.
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