There will be one pill in your packet. Take it as soon as possible, but no more than 5 days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the more likely it will protect against pregnancy, however it does not lose effectiveness as long as you take it within the 5 day window.
If you’re currently taking hormonal birth control (including the pill, patch or ring), you should stop taking it or remove it as soon as you take ella, as using a hormonal birth control method and taking ella at the same time can reduce the effectiveness of both medications. Here’s how to get back on your birth control after ella: How do I get back on birth control after taking ella?
Other important considerations:
- ella is not as effective when used more than once in the same menstrual cycle—it is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.
- ella also does not work when you have another instance of unprotected sex after use.
- ella may not be effective if you vomit within 3 hours of taking it—seek medical care to determine if you should be prescribed another dose.
- Some scientific studies suggest that weight can affect the effectiveness of ella. The available studies have shown that if your body mass index (BMI) is over 30, and especially if it's over 35, alternative options, like the copper IUD, may be more effective as emergency contraception. You can easily calculate your BMI here if you’re unsure of yours, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions.
- ella will not terminate an existing pregnancy.