Comparing Levonelle and ellaOne

Levonelle and ellaOne are both effective emergency contraceptives that can be used to reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex. Both are effective and work in similar ways, but there are some differences between the two.

How do they work?

Both emergency contraception pills work mainly by preventing the ovaries from releasing the egg or by delaying ovulation until the egg will no longer be able to be fertilised by the sperm.

In addition, Levonelle and ellaOne prevent the sperm from fertilising any egg that may have already been released. If these methods were to fail, and an egg were released and fertilised, it would not be able to become attached to the womb thanks to a change in the thickness of the lining.

Basic information

ellaOne Levonelle
Manufacturer HRA Bayer
Active ingredient Ulipristal acetate 30mg Levonorgestrel 1.5mg
Effectiveness 98% if taken on the first day 95% if taken on the first day
Can be taken 120 hours after unprotected sex 72 hours after unprotected sex
Number of tablets needed 1 1



Side effects

ellaOne Levonelle
Nausea Common Common
Irregular bleeding Uncommon Common
Breast tenderness Rare Common
Headache Common Uncommon
Skin reactions Uncommon Rare
Diarrhoea Uncommon Uncommon
Dizziness Common Uncommon
Fatigue Common Common
Abdominal pain Common Common
Irregular periods Uncommon Uncommon

There are some side effects that are exclusive to ellaOne. These can include migraines, visual disturbances, nosebleeds, vaginal itching and muscle pain.

Which one should I take?

Levonelle and ellaOne are both effective in protecting women against pregnancy if they have had unprotected sex. However, there are a number of factors that may make one type of pill more appropriate for you.

You should take Levonelle if:

  • You are worried about serious side effects
  • Less than 72 hours have passed since you had unprotected sex
  • You are not allergic or hypersensitive to the active ingredient in Levonelle

You should take ellaOne if:

  • You tend to tolerate medications well, without suffering from side effects
  • You need to be protected against pregnancy up to five days after having unprotected sex
  • You are allergic or hypersensitive to the active ingredient in Levonelle

Order emergency contraceptive treatment

Is there a reason to not take ellaOne or Levonelle?

There are some situations in which you will be unable to use emergency contraception of any kind. You will be unable to take either medication if you are already pregnant as it will not be effective but may cause problems during the pregnancy.

Consult a doctor if

ellaOne Levonelle
You have severe asthma
Your period is more than 7 days late
Your period is more than 5 days late
You are worried about STIs
You become pregnant after taking it
You have a liver condition
You have tuberculosis
You have HIV
You have a fungal infection
You are taking anything containing St. John's Wort
You have a bacterial infection
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