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Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC)

This is a FREE service provided in association with the PCT.

The “morning after pill” is available FREE OF CHARGE for all women at our pharmacy.



Levonelle One Step is commonly known as "the morning after pill" (emergency pill). It is used to reduce the chances of becoming pregnant after unprotected sexual intercourse.

What is it?
Emergency hormonal contraception contains levonorgestrel and is taken as a single pill. It can work in a number of ways:
• Delaying the release of an egg (ovulation)
• Preventing fertilisation
• Stopping a fertilised egg from settling in your womb

Why might I need it?

If you’ve had unprotected sex then you can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy.

The reasons for unprotected sex may include:
• Not using any form of contraception
• Failure of barrier contraception, such as a burst condom
• Missed pills – leading to a loss of protection from your contraceptive pill
• Antibiotics or other medicines or supplements that may make the contraceptive pill less effective


Is it reliable?
It is more effective the sooner you take it. If this is within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it is about 95% effective. It must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, after this you should visit a contraceptive, sexual health or GUM clinic, walk-in centre or your GP surgery as soon as possible. They may be able to offer another form of emergency contraception.

Can I ask someone else to get it for me?
No, you would need to obtain it yourself. Before supplying it to you, you will have a brief consultation with the pharmacist, who will ask you some questions that only you will have the answers to.

Can I carry on using it each time I need to instead of using regular contraception?
It is best to use a form of regular contraception. This is far more effective than emergency contraception, which can vary from being up to 95% effective if taken within 24 hours to 58% if taken within 72 hours, so there can be a 4 in 10 chance of emergency contraception failing if not taken early enough.

As well as other forms of regular contraception available with a prescription from your GP, we carry a variety of condoms in our pharmacies to cater for all preferences.

Is it safe?
Emergency contraception is very safe with no serious short-term or long-term effects. Side effects may include feeling sick, dizziness, tiredness, headache, breast tenderness or abdominal pain. If it were to fail and you became pregnant, then it has not been shown to affect the pregnancy or harm the developing baby.

We offer a discreet and private service in our consultation room your request will be dealt with only by the pharmacist. The pharmacist will ask you some questions before supplying the morning after pill to ensure it is safe and appropriate to do so. This service is confidential and will not be discussed with anyone else.