Emergency Contraception

We provide a completely private emergency contraception service for all customers, aiming to make your experience as stress free and efficient as possible.

Your consultation for emergency hormonal contraception (EHC), also known as the morning after pill, will be carried out with strict confidentiality and privacy.


What is the Morning After Pill?

The Emergency Contraceptive also known as the morning after pill is a tablet that you take after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.

It can also be used if regular contraception has failed, or you are worried that your regular contraception may have not been used or taken correctly. If you think you may need emergency contraception it is always important to act quickly and consult your pharmacist for advice. It is important to note that is most effective when taken as close as possible to the event.

The morning after pill is available to you directly from your local pharmacy, without a prescription for those over 16 years of age, subject to meeting certain criteria.

The emergency contraception service is available free of charge to medical card holders when a valid card is presented. For other customers, a fee will be charged, depending on the outcome of the consultation and the type of emergency contraception supplied.

How effective is the Morning After Pill?

The morning after pill is not 100% effective.

This is because there is a chance that you may have already ovulated when you take an emergency contraceptive pill. Taking emergency contraceptive pills as soon as possible after unprotected sex gives the best chance of

Who is the Emergency Contraception Service suitable for?

If you’re worried your regular contraception has let you down, or you’ve had unprotected sex in the last 120 hours (five days), our Emergency Contraception Service may be suitable for you.

Some of the reasons supply of the Morning After Pill may not be possible:

  • Too much time has passed since the unprotected sex for the medicine to be effective (max time is 120 hours)
  • You may be taking other medications or have certain medical conditions that make it unsafe for you to use emergency contraception.
  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in the medication.
  • You have already taken an emergency contraceptive pill within this cycle.
  • Your last period was irregular in some way

Our pharmacists will determine if the morning after pill is suitable for you. If for any reason the pill is not suitable, there may be further options available. Our pharmacists are trained to be able to direct you to the correct source for help or support.

What emergency contraception options are there?

There are different emergency contraception options for different situations.

One type of medication, called Levonorgestrel 1.5mg, can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, whereas another, called ellaOne (Ulipristal Acetate) 30mg, can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. Both of these medicines are available at our pharmacies and are more effective the earlier you take them.

How do I get emergency contraception from my pharmacy?

You’ll need to call into your local pharmacy and have a private consultation with a pharmacist.

During the consultation the pharmacist will ask you a number of questions to determine whether emergency contraception medication is suitable for you. If it’s suitable you’ll be given the medication, which only needs to be taken as a single dose. You’ll also be given a Patient Information Leaflet, which you should read carefully.

Side effects of emergency contraception

Some people may notice some side effects after they’ve taken the emergency contraception medicine.

These don’t affect everyone, and some are more common than others.

Side effects include:

  • Feeling sick
  • Headaches
  • Some irregular bleeding until your next period
  • Painful periods
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Feeling dizzy

You’ll be given a leaflet with your medicine which will provide more information about further possible side effects, including less common and rare side effects.