Morning After Pill

If your regular contraception has failed or you have had unprotected sex in the last 5 days you might be worried about being pregnant.

If you need emergency contraception (morning after pill) LloydsPharmacy can help: it is available quickly and discreetly from most of our pharmacies, online or via our Online Doctor service.

Who can use the morning after pill?

16 and over: Our pharmacists will be able to offer you the morning after pill if it is suitable for you.

Under 16: The pharmacist may still be able to offer you the morning after pill under an NHS scheme, or they can help you to find your local family planning clinic to find out about other options.

The morning after pill will not be suitable if:

  • You’re already pregnant
  • You had unprotected sex more than 5 days (120 hours) ago
  • You’re allergic to any of the ingredients (the pharmacist can help you with this)
  • You have a sugar intolerance
  • You have already had the morning after pill during this month’s menstrual cycle (speak to your doctor, family planning clinic or Brook Advisory Centre

You must tell the pharmacist or your doctor if you fall into ANY of the below categories before you take the morning after pill:

  • You’ve previously had an ectopic pregnancy
  • You suffer from a digestive order, such as Crohn’s disease
  • If you are taking any other medication, especially:
    • Barbiturates, Primidone, Phenytoin, Carbemazepine (used predominantly to treat epilepsy)
    • Ciclosporin
    • Griseofulvin (for fungal infections)
    • Herbal remedies containing St John's Wort
    • Rifampicin or Rifabutin (usually for tuberculosis)
    • Ritonavir (for HIV infection)
  • If you’re breast feeding
  • If you’re unsure if the morning after pill is suitable for you

IMPORTANT NOTE: the 120 hours in which you must take the morning after pill to avoid pregnancy begins from the point you had unprotected sex, and is more effective the earlier you take it. Therefore, you must ensure you give yourself enough time to get the treatment from LloydsPharmacy (in store or online), your doctor, family planning clinic or Brook Advisory Centre.

Where can I get the morning after pill from?

In most cases, you don’t need to visit your doctor to get the morning after pill. It is available from LloydsPharmacy stores, online or from our Online Doctor.

1. In pharmacy

There are over 1,500 LloydsPharmacy stores that offer this service, including many pharmacies that are open late or open on a Sunday. The pharmacist will need to ask you a few questions to check whether it is appropriate to give you the morning after pill. This will take place in the private consultation area and can be anonymous.

Find a Pharmacy

2. Online

You can buy EllaOne®, which is effective up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Before ordering online, you must ensure there is enough time to receive the tablet and take it within 5 days. Other brands available are Consilient and Levonelle, but these needs to be taken within 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex. Our online pharmacist will need to ask you a few questions to check whether it is appropriate to give you the morning after pill.

Buy Emergency Contraception

3. Through our Online Doctor service

Our Online Doctor service provides an alternative way to get the morning after pill if you don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone face to face. All online consultations are assessed by real doctors who can prescribe treatment where appropriate. By using this confidential service you can arrange to collect your treatment from a LloydsPharmacy of your choice, normally the same day (normal opening hours apply).

Step 1: Visit our Online Doctor

Step 2: Complete a short online questionnaire and pay by card. The card must be in the name of the person requesting the service

Step 3: Pick up your treatment in your chosen pharmacy

Visit Online Doctor

4. Other Places

If you prefer, you can also speak to your doctor, the family planning clinic or, if you are under 25, you can also contact the Brook Advisory Centre for the morning after pill, as well as advice on alternative emergency contraception options.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to pay for the morning after pill?
The pill is available to buy from most pharmacies, however, many also operate a local NHS scheme which means the morning after pill may be available free of charge to some groups of women. Before buying the pill, you may wish to check with your local LloydsPharmacy if they are part of this scheme.

You will have to pay for the morning after pill if you use the Online Doctor service. Check the Online Doctor price. When prescribed by your doctor, family planning clinic or Brook Advisory Centre on the NHS, the morning after pill will be free.

What morning after pills are available?
The Levonelle brand is the most commonly asked for over-the-counter morning after pill, but the pharmacist may give you the Consilient brand instead, which is the same product (levonorgestrel) just under a different brand name. This tablet needs to be taken with 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex.

ellaOne® is also available over-the-counter and is suitable for use up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. Other tablets are also available.

How effective is the morning after pill?
The morning after pill is not 100% effective, but there is a greater chance of preventing a pregnancy if it is taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex.
A trial undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that levonorgestrel (the drug in Levonelle) prevented:
  • 95% of expected pregnancies when taken within 24 hours of sex
  • 85% if taken within 25-48 hours
  • 58% if taken within 49-72 hours

ellaOne® is not effective in every case: of 100 women receiving ellaOne® up to 5 days after unprotected sex, approximately 2 will become pregnant. So, as long as you use ellaOne® correctly, it is very likely that it will be effective.

The morning after pill will not stop a pregnancy if you are already pregnant.

How do I take the morning after pill?
  1. Read the patient information leaflet that comes with the tablet
  2. Take the tablet as soon as possible after unprotected sex - ideally within 12 hours and before 72 hours has past (120 hours for ellaOne®)
  3. Swallow the tablet whole, with water
  4. If you are sick within three hours you will need to take another tablet. Consult your pharmacist or doctor for more advice and to obtain another tablet.
How does the morning after pill work?
Morning after pills work mainly by stopping or delaying the body from releasing an egg (ovulation). In the case of levonorgestrel, it may also affect the lining of the womb, preventing a fertilised egg from implanting itself.
Are there any side effects to the morning after pill?
Some people may experience the following:

  • Dizziness and feeling overly tired
  • Feeling sick, vomiting, lower stomach pain or diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Unexpected bleeding not related to your monthly cycle
  • Tender breasts

If you experience any difficulty in breathing or swelling of the face, neck, tongue or throat, seek medical attention immediately.

The morning after pill may disturb your normal period cycle: you may start earlier or later than usual. If your next period is more than five days late, or is unusually light or heavy, or there is any other reason you might suspect you are pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test and talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Will the morning after pill protect me from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
No, it will not protect you from any sexually transmitted disease. Only barrier methods such as condoms can do that. If you feel you may have been exposed to an STI then speak to your GP as soon as possible. If you don’t wish to have a face-to-face conversation, then our Online Doctor can offer discreet tests for HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea and treatments for conditions such as chlamydia, HIV, genital herpes and warts.
Where can I get contraceptive advice?
The morning after pill is only intended for occasional use and is not a substitute for long-term contraception. If you would like to find out more about the different contraception methods available and to discuss what might be suitable for you, please speak to one of our pharmacists in confidence, or your doctor, your family planning clinic or, if you’re under 25, the Brook Advisory Centre for more information.