A new emergency contraceptive pill called ellaOne, manufactured by HRA Pharma, is today available to women in the UK, following the launch of the pill in Europe.
Clinical trials performed on more than 4,000 women have shown that a single dose of ellaOne significantly reduces the number of pregnancies versus the number of expected pregnancies in absence of emergency contraception.
ellaOne is different from currently used levonorgestrel-based emergency contraceptives, in that it maintains efficacy for 5 days after unprotected intercourse while its safety and tolerability profile has been demonstrated to be comparable to that of levonorgestrel.
Asma Khalid, Senior Medical Advisor at Marie Stopes International, says: "EllaOne can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, with sustained efficacy across the five days.
"This may be beneficial to women who can not access emergency contraception promptly, for example women who have unprotected sex whilst on holiday or over the weekend when doctors surgeries and pharmacies might be closed. However, ellaOne is only available with a prescription, so women wishing to use it should visit their doctor as soon as possible for advice.
"It is also important to remember that emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We would encourage women who have had unprotected sex to visit their GP or local family planning centre for an STI test.”