Difference between EllaOne and Levonelle

How can I have safe sex? Of course, everyone is sensible enough to practice and have safe sex. Still, unexpected outcomes do happen. For example, let's say you have had sex, are not on a hormone contraceptive (the pill, coil, or IUD) and forgot to use a condom; what next? Don't panic; emergency treatments exist!

Do you know there are two kinds of emergency contraceptive pills available in the UK? One is Levonelle, and the other one is EllaOne.


Levonelle is the original 'morning-after pill' that you may take up to 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It is a single dose, a hormonal emergency contraceptive tablet.

Levonelle saves the worry and hassle of seeing your doctor at short notice if you have it ready to take in case of emergency. It also ensures that you can take the morning-after pill immediately after unprotected sex for maximum effectiveness. Levonelle is a single-dose medication. Women prefer it if they either had unprotected sex or fear that their regular contraception might not work because they forgot to take a contraceptive tablet or a torn condom. Suppose you take the pill within 72 hours of having sex. In that case, there is a 95% chance of it being effective and preventing unplanned pregnancy.

Levonelle works because it contains the substance Levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone. It prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs, so the sperm has nothing to fertilise. The pill has a dual-action; if an egg has already been released, it also helps stop the sperm from fertilising it. In short, Levonelle controls the release of eggs from the ovaries and prevents fertilisation of a released egg or its attaching itself to the lining of the womb.

How effective is Levonelle at preventing pregnancy?

To maximise the effectiveness of Levonelle, take it as early as possible, preferably within 12 hours. The significance of Levonorgestrel (generic Levonelle) depends on how soon you take it after unprotected sex, like:

Within the first 24 hours: 95% effective

24 to 48 hours: 85% effective

48 to 72 hours: 58% effective

Levonorgestrel may have no effect and may not fulfil your desired outcome if you take it after 72 hours of unprotected sexual activity.

If you are late, consult your doctor, or there is another option of using the EllaOne emergency contraception tablet. EllaOne contraceptive tablet is super effective; you can take it up to 5 days after unprotected sex.


EllaOne is a newer version of the emergency contraceptive pill. It is more effective than Levonelle in many scenarios.

EllaOne contains Ulipristal Acetate, a substance that modifies the activity of your natural hormones to postpone ovulation. EllaOne makes it much harder for a sperm to fertilise an egg, effectively protecting you against pregnancy. Ulipristal Acetate is a selective progesterone receptor rectifier. It alters the activity of the natural hormone progesterone. It acts on the body's progesterone receptors. It makes them think there are higher circulating progesterone levels than there actually are. As a result, Ulipristal tricks the body into thinking ovulation has already occurred, resulting in delayed or wholly prevented ovulation.

How effective is EllaOne at preventing pregnancy?

EllaOne is 95% effective up to 120 hours after intercourse. So the bottom line is if you take the morning-after pill very soon after unprotected sex, it does not matter which type you take. However, if it was more than 12 to 24 hours ago, EllaOne may be more effective.

Levonelle and ellaOne are equally successful (95 % fruitful) up to 12 hours after unprotected intercourse. However, the productiveness of Levonelle then starts to tail off, down to 58% effective, 48 hours after intercourse.

Difference between Levonelle and EllaOne

The main difference between Levonelle and EllaOne is the time frame in which you can take it. Levonelle gives you a relatively reasonable leeway of 72 hours. While EllaOne gives you much more peace of mind as you can take it up to 5 days after unprotected sex. EllaOne is almost 2.5 times more effective than Levonorgestrel if you take it within 24 hours of unprotected sex.

The effectiveness of Levonelle begins decreasing after 12 hours of unprotected sex; EllaOne maintains its 95% effectiveness rate all the way until the end of the 5th day. 

Another significant difference between the two morning-after pills is that while Levonelle requires a prescription, EllaOne does not.

For anyone under the age of sixteen, seek your doctor's advice before taking any of these emergency contraceptives.

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