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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Ella Emergency Contraceptive: Uses and Side Effects


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Ebiojo David
I am a Biochemist and Naturopath, I love writing and educating people on health and wellness matters.

Ella, also known as Ulipristal is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy in women after having unprotected sex or a birth control method failed.


It is more effective than its counterpart Levonorgestrel and it is the only contraceptive pill that is most effective when the risk of pregnancy is highest which is usually 24 hours around ovulation.

This drug is for emergency purpose only and shouldn’t be used as a regular form of birth control. It works by preventing ovulation (the release of eggs) during your menstrual cycle.

Ella also prevents pregnancy by preventing fertilization, it does this by making the vagina fluid thicker, and this makes it impossible for sperm to get to the egg. It also prevents pregnancy by preventing the fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus by changing the lining of the uterus.

This drug cannot terminate a pregnancy or prevents sexually transmitted diseases and it might not be effective in overweight women and other medication can reduce the effectiveness of this drug.

The active ingredient in this drug is Ulipristal acetate but the generic name is Ella (in the United States of America) and EllaOne (in the United Kingdom). This drug can only be gotten with a doctor’s prescription.

How to Use Ella?

Ask your doctor or pharmacists for the dosage and make sure you follow instructions. You can also read the instruction on the package and follow it.

Take a tablet orally, with or without eating as soon as possible after having unprotected sex. This drug is so effective and can be effective when taken within 5 days after unprotected sex.

If you vomit after 3 hours of taking this drug, call your doctor and ask him if you can take the dose again. This drug can affect your menstrual cycle by changing when your period comes and how much you bleed.

You have to go for a pregnancy test if your period is more than 7 days late. It is advisable to use a barrier-type control like diaphragms and condoms after using Ella, do this every time you have sex until you see your period.


If you choose to use hormonal birth control pills, you have to wait for at least 5 days after using Ella so that there won’t be a reaction, this will also make sure both drugs work well.


Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are taking any drug or supplement, this will help prevent drug interaction which can weaken the effectiveness of this drug or increase your risks of severe side effects. Some drugs that can interact with Ella and reduce the efficiency of the drug are:

  • John’s wort
  • HIV drugs
  • Griseofulvin
  • Modafinil
  • Drugs used in treating seizures


Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are allergic to this drug before taking it. You might be allergic to this drug if you are allergic to levonorgestrel or if you have other allergic reactions.

This drug contains other inactive ingredients that can cause allergic reactions or some other health complications. You should also let your doctor or pharmacist know if you are on any medication or herbal supplement to prevent drug interaction.

Also, brief your doctor or pharmacist of your medical history especially if you have a case of unexplained vaginal bleeding. If you are dizzy after this drug, don’t drive or operate any machine until you are okay.

Pregnant women and lactating mothers should not take this drug and there is a chance of Ella causing spontaneous abortions in women who become pregnant despite using the drug.

Side Effects of Ella

Common side effects of Ella are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Painful menstruation

Contact your doctor if you experience serious side effects like severe stomach pain that lasts for 3-5 weeks after taking Ella. An allergic reaction can also occur as a severe side effect but it is very rare. Symptoms of severe allergic reactions are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash
  • Severe dizziness
  • Itching
  • Swelling of the throat, tongue, and face

This is not a complete list of the side effects, make sure you see your doctor immediately if you notice any side effects.


  1. https://www.ellanow.com/
  2. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=052bfe45-c485-49e5-8fc4-51990b2efba4

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