How effective is the morning after pill?
The type of morning after pill you take and when you take it will change how effective it is. Some morning after pills are more effective when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex but less effective when taken within 25-72 hours. Others can still be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, while still being effective.
Levonelle (the branded version of levonorgestrel) is effective for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, whereas ellaOne is effective for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. However, Levonelle is considered most effective when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex.
The IUD (coil) is the most effective kind of emergency contraception. Trials indicate the failure rate for the IUD as emergency contraception is lower than 0.1%. This means that less than 1 in every 1,000 women who use the IUD as emergency contraception will fall pregnant.
How effective is Levonelle?
Manufacturer’s studies have shown levonelle to be:
- 95% effective if you take it within 1 day (24 hours) of unprotected sex. Levonelle begins to fall in effectiveness over time.
- 85% effective if you take it within 2 days (25-48 hours).
- 58% effective after 3 days (49-72 hours).
While Levonelle can be taken within 3 days (72 hours) of having unprotected sex, it is most effective if you take it within 24 hours of having unprotected sex.
How effective is ellaOne?
EllaOne is up to 98-99% effective and can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after having unprotected sex. However, because of how ellaOne works, the sooner you take it, the more effective it will be. This is because it, and Levonelle, must be taken before the release of an egg from your ovary. If you think you may have already ovulated you should speak to your doctor about having an emergency IUD fitted. This can be fitted up to 5 days after your earliest possible ovulation date.
The effectiveness of both ellaOne and Levonelle can be reduced if you have a high body mass index (BMI).
How effective are IUDs as emergency contraception?
IUDs are more than 99.9% effective and can stay in place for between 5 and 10 years, making them the most effective type of emergency contraceptive.
This means that fewer than 1 in 1000 women using an IUD will get pregnant