Types of emergency contraception

The intrauterine device (IUD) which is suitable for emergency contraception is a Copper-T IUD

Copper-T IUD is considered the most effective emergency contraceptive method and it provides an ongoing contraceptive solution.1 However in a situation where you need to act very quickly, IUD fitting takes time and involves an invasive and uncomfortable procedure.

Copper-T IUD can be fitted up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex . However its use is restricted by its availability and the need to be inserted by a specifically trained healthcare professional.

Oral emergency contraception (emergency contraception pills, ECPs)

Emergency contraceptive pills are commonly known as “morning after pills”, because it is best to take them as soon as possible after unprotected sex.4

There are two oral emergency contraceptives available5

  • One containing levonorgestrel, which was first made available in 1999.
  • One containing ulipristal acetate (ellaOne®), which became available in 2009.

The mechanism of action of oral emergency contraception  is to postpone or inhibit ovulation, so that no egg is released.6,7

Depending on the country, oral emergency contraception may be available directly from your pharmacist, without a prescription. The dose is one single tablet to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex.4,7

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ellaOne® offers an advanced emergency contraception and was specifically developed for emergency contraception5

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Summary of the types of emergency contraception available in Europe

FORMAT How quickly must I act? How effective is it ? How can I get it ?
ellaOne® (30mg ulipristal acetate) Tablet7 As soon as possible, and within 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure7 Effective even when taken just before egg release7 when risk of pregnancy is highest Pharmacy or doctor’s prescription
Levonorgestrel (1,5 mg) Tablet9 As soon as possible, and within 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure9 Effective but doesn’t work when taken just before egg release9 Pharmacy or doctor’s prescription
Copper intrauterine device (IUD) A small T-shaped device that is fitted inside your womb by a doctor10 As soon as possible, and within 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure9 Effective and has in addition the advantage of providing regular contraception as soon as it is in place1 Doctor’s prescription

If you are not sure which is right for you, ask a pharmacist or other healthcare professional.