A tablet with the active ingredient ulipristal acetate (UPA). It’s more effective at preventing pregnancy than a pill with levonorgestrel.

You’ll be given one pill to take. It should be taken within five days (120 hours) of having unprotected sex, but try and take it as soon as possible.

Most women can use pills with UPA. If you have severe asthma or take certain prescribed medicines or complementary medicines, an emergency IUD may be a preferred option.

If you used hormonal contraception in the week before you use UPA, UPA might be less effective.

UPA can be used from day 21 after giving birth. Avoid breastfeeding for one week after taking it and express and discard your milk during this time.

You can use it from day five after a miscarriage or abortion.

There are no serious short or long-term side effects.

Some people may feel sick or may get headaches or a painful period.

A very small number will vomit.

It may alter your next period.

Most side effects go away within a few days.

Your period may be on time, or a few days earlier or later than expected. Sometimes it can be a week late and sometimes even later.

If you don’t have a period within about a week of the expected time then do a pregnancy test.

You should see a doctor or nurse if:

  • Your next period is more than seven days late, is shorter or lighter than usual or you have any sudden or unusual pain in your lower abdomen. These could be signs of an ectopic pregnancy. Although this isn’t common, it’s very serious.
  • You're worried that you might have a sexually transmitted infection.

Some people get pregnant even though they took UPA correctly.

You may also become pregnant if you vomit within three hours of taking it or have further unprotected sex. Speak to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. They may give you another dose or suggest an emergency IUD.

If you vomit later than three hours, UPA will have been absorbed.

If you forgot your regular pill or didn’t use the patch or vaginal ring correctly, you should wait for five days after taking UPA before you take your pill again, insert a new ring or apply a new patch. Use additional contraception, such as condoms, during these five days.

After you restart your pill, patch or ring, you should continue to use additional contraception:

  • with the patch, the ring and the combined pill for seven days
  • with the progestogen-only pill for two days.