Morning after pill
Find out where you can get emergency contraception
If your regular contraception has failed or you have had unprotected sex in the last 5 days you might be worried about being pregnant. If you need emergency contraception, known as the morning after pill, we are here to help, both online and in store.
Same-day collection Find a pharmacy
What morning after pills are available?
The Levonelle brand is the most commonly asked for over-the-counter morning after pill. Through Online Doctor we offer ellaOne® (ulipristal acetate) and Levonelle (levonorgestrel).
|Active ingredient||Levonorgestrel||Ulipristal Acetate|
|When should I take it?||Within 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex||Within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sex|
Where can I get the morning after pill from?
In most cases, you don't need to visit your doctor to get the morning after pill. It is available from LloydsPharmacy stores, find your nearest store, and our Online Doctor.
Many of our LloydsPharmacy stores also deliver the FREE NHS scheme which means the morning after pill may be available free of charge to some groups of women. Before buying the pill, you may wish to check with your local LloydsPharmacy if they are part of this scheme. Click here to see which of our pharmacies deliver this service.
Here are the options available to you, explained:
LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor provides an alternative way to get the morning after pill if you don't feel comfortable speaking to someone face-to-face.
All online questionnaire consultations are assessed by real doctors and pharmacists who can prescribe treatment where appropriate.
By using this confidential service you can arrange to collect your treatment from a LloydsPharmacy of your choice, normally the same day (normal opening hours apply).
Step 1: Visit Online Doctor
Step 2: Complete a short online questionnaire and pay by card. The card must be in the name of the person requesting the service.
Step 3: If your treatment is approved by a clinician, you can collect it at your chosen pharmacy. Same-day collection available.
From your local LloydsPharmacy
Come and visit us at your local LloydsPharmacy for a friendly and discreet emergency contraception service.
If you would like more information, reassurance or just need someone to talk to, this service is available in over 1,500 stores, including many that are open late or on a Sunday. It is advised that you call the store ahead of your arrival to ensure that they offer this service.
The pharmacist will need to ask you a few questions to check your suitability for the morning after pill. This will be a private consultation and can be anonymous.
From a family planning clinic
If you prefer, you can also speak to a family planning clinic, or if you are under 25, you can also contact the Brook Advisory Centre for the morning after pill, as well as advice on alternative emergency contraception options.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the 120 hours in which you must take the morning after pill to avoid pregnancy begins from the point you had unprotected sex, and is more effective the earlier you take it. Therefore, you must ensure you give yourself enough time to get the treatment from LloydsPharmacy (in store or online), your doctor, family planning clinic or Brook Advisory Centre.
How much does the morning after pill cost?
The pill is available to buy from most pharmacies, with LloydsPharmacy offering emergency contraception products at around £10-33 online.
However, many also operate a local NHS scheme which means the morning after pill may be available free of charge to some groups of women. Before buying the pill, you may wish to check with your local LloydsPharmacy if they are part of this scheme.
You will have to pay for the morning after pill if you would prefer to have it prescribed online at LloydsPharmacy or through the Online Doctor service.
When prescribed by your doctor, family planning clinic or Brook Advisory Centre on the NHS, the morning after pill will be free.
Frequently asked questions
Who can take the morning after pill?
16 and over: Our pharmacists will be able to offer you the morning after pill if it is suitable for you. Please note if you are under 18 you will not be able to request emergency contraception from Online Doctor, as this service is for over-18s only.
Under 16: The pharmacist may still be able to offer you the morning after pill under an NHS scheme, or they can help you to find your local family planning clinic to find out about other options.
The morning after pill will not be suitable if:
- You're already pregnant
- You had unprotected sex more than 5 days (120 hours) ago
- You're allergic to any of the ingredients (the pharmacist can help you with this)
- You have a sugar intolerance
- You have already had the morning after pill during this month's menstrual cycle (speak to your doctor, family planning clinic or Brook Advisory Centre
You must tell the pharmacist or your doctor if you fall into ANY of the below categories before you take the morning after pill:
- You've previously had an ectopic pregnancy
- You live with a digestive order, such as Crohn's disease
- If you are taking any other medication, especially: Barbiturates, Primidone, Phenytoin, Carbemazepine (used predominantly to treat epilepsy), Ciclosporin, Griseofulvin (for fungal infections), herbal remedies containing St John's Wort, Rifampicin or Rifabutin (usually for tuberculosis), Ritonavir (for HIV infection)
- If you're breast feeding
- If you're unsure if the morning after pill is suitable for you
How effective is the morning after pill?
The morning after pill is not 100% effective, but there is a greater chance of preventing a pregnancy if it is taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex.
A trial undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that levonorgestrel (the ingredient in Levonelle) prevented:
- 95% of expected pregnancies when taken within 24 hours of sex
- 85% if taken within 25-48 hours
- 58% if taken within 49-72 hours
ellaOne® if used correctly, is very likely that it will be effective. However, it is not effective in every case: of 100 women receiving ellaOne® up to 5 days after unprotected sex, approximately 2 will become pregnant. So, as long as you use ellaOne® correctly, it is very likely that it will be effective.
The morning after pill will not stop a pregnancy if you are already pregnant.
How do I take the morning after pill?
- Always read the patient information leaflet that comes with the tablet
- Take the tablet as soon as possible after unprotected sex - ideally within 12 hours and before 72 hours has past (120 hours for ellaOne®)
- Swallow the tablet whole, with water
- If you are sick within three hours you will need to take another tablet. Consult your pharmacist or doctor for more advice and to obtain another tablet.
How does the morning after pill work?
Morning after pills work mainly by stopping or delaying the body from releasing an egg (ovulation). In the case of levonorgestrel (ingredient in Levonelle), it may also affect the lining of the womb, preventing a fertilised egg from implanting itself.
Are there any side effects to the morning after pill?
Some people may experience the following:
- Dizziness and feeling overly tired
- Feeling sick, vomiting, lower stomach pain or diarrhoea
- Unexpected bleeding not related to your monthly cycle
- Tender breasts
- If you experience any difficulty in breathing or swelling of the face, neck, tongue or throat, seek medical attention immediately.
The morning after pill may disturb your normal period cycle: you may start earlier or later than usual. If your next period is more than five days late, or is unusually light or heavy, or there is any other reason you might suspect you are pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test and talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Will the morning after pill protect me from STIs?
No, it will not protect you from any sexually transmitted disease. Only barrier methods such as condoms can do that. If you feel you may have been exposed to an STI then speak to a sexual health clinic as soon as possible.
If you don't wish to have a face-to-face conversation, then Online Doctor offers discreet home tests for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea and can prescribe treatments for conditions such as chlamydia, HIV, genital herpes and warts.
Where can I get contraceptive advice?
The morning after pill is only intended for occasional use and is not a substitute for long-term contraception.
If you would like to find out more about the different contraception methods available and to discuss what might be suitable for you, please speak to one of our pharmacists in confidence, visit Online Doctor's contraception clinic, see your doctor, your family planning clinic or, if you're under 25, the Brook Advisory Centre for more information.
Our pharmacy team have put the appropriate Covid Infection Prevention and Control measures in place to ensure that we can provide services, care and advice to you safely.