Laois Pharmacy

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Morning After Pill

The morning after pill is available without prescription.

WHAT IS IT?

The emergency contraceptive pill (often called the “morning after pill”) is a pill that you can take after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive pills are available directly from a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription to women over 16 years of age, subject to meeting certain criteria.

Since July 2017 the emergency contraception service has been available free of charge to medical card holders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

If you think you need emergency contraception, it’s important to act quickly. Emergency contraception is a safe, effective and responsible method of preventing pregnancy when regular contraception has failed or if no contraception was used.

Remember, emergency contraception cannot protect against a sexually transmitted infection.

Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions about STI’s or visit www.thinkcontraception.ie  for more information.

emergency-contraception

How will the pill be supplied?

Laois Pharmacy have been trained to treat requests for emergency contraception professionally and confidentially. The pharmacist will need to ask a few simple questions before giving you the medication. This will help the pharmacist ensure that Emergency Contraceptive pill is suitable for you to use. If for any reason it is not suitable, the pharmacist will direct you another source for help and support.

Some of the reasons it may not be suitable to supply emergency contraception include:

  • Too much time has passed for the medicine to be effective
  • You are taking other medicines that interact with emergency contraception
  • You have an existing medical condition that means it is not safe to take emergency contraception
  • Your last period was irregular in some way

Emergency contraception can be effective up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex but it is important to take it as soon as possible as the quicker you take it the more effective it works

5 Myths about the pill

1. Repeated use can lead to infertility

Emergency contraception has no effect on future fertility and there is no evidence to suggest that using the morning-after pill will make you infertile.

Emergency contraception will not protect you from pregnancy if you have unprotected sex again in the days following intake. And, if you want to have sex after using emergency contraception, you should use a barrier method of contraception until your next period, this is because your fertility can come back very quickly.

Because it’s an emergency contraceptive it shouldn’t be used as your main contraceptive method. If you are confused about the best contraceptive for you it’s advisable you talk to your pharmacist or GP to discuss other contraceptive options.

2. You literally have to take it the morning after

The morning-after pill doesn’t have to be taken the morning after, but it is most effective the sooner you take it. If you haven’t been able to get it immediately, don’t panic! ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) can be taken within five days (120 hours) of unprotected sex and alternative emergency contraceptive pills can be taken within 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex. The pills work by preventing or delaying ovulation and must be taken as soon as possible as they aren’t effective if ovulation has already taken place.

3. It works by causing a mini abortion

The morning after pill DOES NOT cause an ‘emergency period’ or an abortion, it actually works by delaying your egg release (ovulation). This means that the sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes won’t be able to meet an egg and fertilise it. It’s similar to regular contraceptive pills, which mostly work by preventing egg release. If you’re already pregnant, emergency contraception will not interrupt your pregnancy.

4. You need a doctors appointment or a prescription to get it

Nope. If you need emergency contraception you can head straight to the pharmacy to get the morning after pill after a quick consultation with the pharmacist – you don’t need to get a prescription from your doctor, although it is also possible to go down this route too.

And good news, from the 1st July 2017 this year, changes to the General Medical Card Scheme in Ireland mean that the morning after pill is now also available in pharmacy for women with a medical card, without a prescription.

5. You can only take it three times in your life

Not true, there’s NO limit to the number of times you can take the morning-after pill and you can use if anytime you think you are at risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Do remember that emergency contraception will NOT protect you from pregnancy if you have unprotected sex again in the days after you take it, so make sure you use a barrier method of contraception, like condoms, until your next period.

Because it’s an emergency contraceptive it shouldn’t be used as your main contraceptive method. If you are confused about the best contraceptive for you it’s advisable you talk to your pharmacist or GP to discuss other contraceptive options.

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