At a glance: comparing ellaOne and Levonelle

Well, we’ve all been there. There’s nothing quite like the anxiety ridden stress that follows having a night (or day) of unprotected sex. Whether the condom broke, or you’ve forgotten to take your daily pill, we get it! You need the morning-after pill and you need it quickly. So let’s explore your options.

We stock ellaOne and Levonelle (Levonorgestrel) and while both are morning-after pills, there are a few key differences that are worth considering before you make your choice.


ellaOne: use within 120 hours of having sex

Levonelle: use within 72 hours of having sex

With ellaOne, you have 5 days to take the pill - compared to 3 days with Levonelle - and it’s one of our most popular products because of this. Having more time on your side is an advantage and those extra few days could increase your chances of preventing an unwanted pregnancy.  



  • 98% effective if taken correctly


  • 95% effective if you take it within 24 hours of having sex
  • 85% effective if you take it within 25-48 hours of having sex
  • 58% effective if you take it within 49-72 hours* of having sex

Simply put, clinical studies have found that ellaOne is the most effective - 2.5x more than Levonelle when taken within 24 hours and can help prevent ovulation even when you are about to ovulate. This again comes back to timing and the larger ‘safety’ window the product offers.

Real talk though, both pills are designed to delay ovulation which means the morning-after pill will not be effective if you have already ovulated. It can often be difficult to track ovulation because your cycle can change month to month, so it’s always advised that you take your chosen pill as quickly as you can.

*Source: Terrence Higgins Trust

Side effects 😴

Firstly, there are no long-term side effects from taking the morning-after pill, so long as it’s used in the recommended way.

Some of the lucky few will also never experience short-term side effects. Everyone’s different, but if you do get them, side effects are never going to be pleasant. Get the facts and know what to expect.

Common side effects of  ellaOne and Levonelle include; nausea, abdominal (stomach) pain or discomfort, vomiting, painful periods, pelvic pain, breast tenderness, headache, dizziness, mood swings, muscle pain and tiredness. 

If you do vomit within 2 hours of taking Levonelle or 3 hours of taking ellaOne, you will need to take another dose as this will have lowered the effectiveness of your chosen pill.

Medical conditions and medications 🚫

Most people can take ellaOne or Levonelle, however there are few cases where it wouldn’t be advised to take a morning-after pill.

  • If you have heavy asthma
  • If you are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • If you take any medications it may interact with, for example:
    - the herbal medicine St John's Wort
    - some medicines used to treat epilepsy, HIV or tuberculosis (TB)
    - medicine to make your stomach less acidic, such as Omeprazole
    - some less commonly used antibiotics (Rifampicin and Rifabutin)

If you have any concerns, you should discuss them with your doctor or reach out to our clinical team at

Body weight

Levonelle and ellaOne are thought to be less efficient in women who weigh more than 70kg or who have a BMI of more than 26. There is very little conclusive data on this point, but we would always advise you take emergency contraception to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.  

Breastfeeding 🍒

  • ellaOne: safety unknown
  • Levonelle: safe

Although trace amounts may pass through your breast milk, Levonelle is safe to take while breastfeeding. It’s not yet known what the effects of ellaOne are, however if you choose this pill the manufacturer recommends that you do not breastfeed for one week after taking it.

The most important thing about any contraception is that you get the facts and choose an option that is right for you and your body. If you’re feeling informed and are ready to take the next step, our emergency consultation form takes minutes to complete online and offers treatments starting from £13, with free delivery.  

If you aren’t quite there, we have more info in our FAQs and you can also reach out to our clinical team at

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