Emergency contraception - "The Morning After Pill"

Morning after pillIf you have had unprotected sex, or think that your contraception may have failed, you may decide to use the "morning after pill" as an emergency measure.

Emergency Hormonal Contraception, or EHC, must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.  Otherwise, you should visit a contraceptive, sexual health or clinic or your GP surgery as soon as possible as they may be able to offer you other forms of emergency contraception. 

You can get the morning after pill from your local Peak Pharmacy or Tims & Parker Pharmacy in one of 2 ways:

1. You can purchase it over the counter if you are aged 16 or over

2. Many of our Pharmacists are accredited to provide EHC free of charge through a local NHS service.

We suggest contacting your local branch by phone prior to visiting to find out which one provides which service.

For the contact details and opening times of your local branch, please use our store locator.

You will be required to have a brief consultation with the Pharmacist prior to being supplied with EHC in order to ascertain that it is suitable for you.

Further information about the Emergency Contraceptive Pill...

(taken from the NHS website) - click here to visit the page

The emergency contraceptive pill, also known as the morning-after pill or post-coital pill, can be used by a woman to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex.

It can also be used if another method of contraception has failed, for example if a condom splits or you have forgotten to take one of your contraceptive pills.

The emergency contraceptive pill can be used up to five days (120 hours) after having unprotected sex. However, the sooner it is taken, the more likely it is to prevent pregnancy.

It can be taken more than once during your menstrual cycle, but does not protect you against pregnancy during the rest of your menstrual cycle and is not intended to be a regular form of contraception. Using the emergency contraceptive pill repeatedly can severely disrupt your natural menstrual cycle.

The emergency contraceptive pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

How effective is it?

The effectiveness of the emergency contraceptive pill depends on how soon you take it after sex. Taking it within 12 hours of having sex gives the best chance of preventing a pregnancy.

The emergency contraceptive pill is:

  • 95% effective if taken within 24 hours of having sex
  • 85% effective if taken within 24-48 hours of having sex
  • 58% effective if taken within 48-72 hours of having sex

How the emergency contraceptive pill works

The emergency contraceptive pill prevents the ovaries releasing an egg (ovulation). It also: 

  • thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb, so it is harder for sperm to penetrate into the womb and reach an egg
  • thins the lining of the womb, so there is less chance of a fertilised egg implanting into the womb and being able to grow

Types of emergency contraceptive pill

There are currently two brands of emergency contraceptive pill available in the UK:

  • Levonelle is the most commonly used emergency contraceptive pill. It can be taken up to three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex and is available free of charge on prescription or can be bought from your local pharmacy if you are over 16 years of age.
  • ellaOne is a newer type of emergency contraceptive pill that can be taken up to five days (120 hours) after having unprotected sex. It is only available on prescription and only recommended in women over the age of 18.



Your local pharmacy may not offer all the services listed in this section. Please contact your local store to find out which services are available

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