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Is ella for me?

  • ella is intended to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or a known or suspected contraceptive failure (condom broke, late for a shot, missed pills).
  • ella is NOT the “abortion pill” RU-486.
  • ella does not offer protection against infection with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

How does ella work?

  • ella prevents the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation) for up to five days after unprotected sex. ella may also prevent attachment (implantation) of a fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus.

What is ella?

  • ella is a type of “emergency contraception” or “EC.” Some people call these “the morning after pill,” but you can take EC as late as 5 days after sex.
  • ella contains an ingredient called ulipristal acetate, which binds to the receptors in your body for the hormone progesterone.
  • There are other types of emergency contraception available.
  • Unlike other types of emergency contraceptive pills, ella does not decrease in effectiveness over the five days after an unprotected encounter. That means ella is just as effective one hour after unprotected sex as it is five days after unprotected sex.(1, 2)

How do I use ella?

  • ella can be taken at any time in the 5 days after unprotected sex or birth control failure.
  • ella can be taken with food, or on an empty stomach.
  • If you vomit within 3 hours of taking ella, you should take another dose.

Who should NOT use ella?

  • People who are currently pregnant
  • People who are currently breastfeeding – the medication can get into breast milk
  • People who have already taken ella once in their current menstrual cycle

How effective is ella?

  • ella is the most effective EC pill available. (Paragard IUD is still more effective as EC – read more about it here.)
  • About 2% of people who take ella will still get pregnant…but this isn’t quite the same as saying ella is 98% effective. It also depends on when in your cycle you took EC and how likely a pregnancy was at that time.
    • ella is slightly more effective than Plan B, especially if it has been 72 hours or more since unprotected sex(3, 4)
  • If you are on a hormonal contraceptive (pills, patch, ring, injection, implant, or hormonal IUD), ella can reduce the effectiveness of your regular birth control!
    • If you are on another kind of birth control and you take ella, you should use another form of birth control (such as condoms) until your next period.
    • If you need to take EC again after a dose of ella, but before your next period, you should take ella again – it can interfere with the effectiveness of Plan B
  • ella may be less effective if you are taking certain other medications or herbal supplements. Make sure you let your healthcare provider know if you are taking any other medication or herbs.

What if I need EC more than once in a cycle?

  • Ideally, you should only take EC once in a cycle, then use condoms as a back-up until you have your next period.
  • If you need to take EC again in the same cycle, you should try to take the same one you took the first time.
  • If you can't take the same pill again, any EC is better than none - so take whatever you have available.

Is ella dangerous?

  • The most common side effects are: headache (18%), abdominal pain (12%), nausea (12%), dysmenorrhea (9%), fatigue (6%), and dizziness (5%).(5)
  • Your next period may be a few days early or late after taking ella. You should take a pregnancy test if your period is 7 days late or more.
  • There is not enough information about what dangers ella can have on an existing pregnancy.
    • If you take ella while you are pregnant, or if you get pregnant despite taking ella, you are encouraged to register at this web site:
  • There should be no change to your fertility. You can still get pregnant at a later date after using ella or any other type of emergency contraception.

Where can I get ella?

  • ella requires a prescription. Other kinds of emergency contraceptive pills are available without a prescription.
  • You can visit one of the following clinics for a prescription, or they may have ella in stock to pick up:
  • ella is available to buy online from the following websites:
  • If you already have a prescription written for ella, the following pharmacies should have the medication in stock:
  • Pharmacy Name
    Daniel's Pharmacy
    Target-Masonic & Geary
    Walgreens-16th St. & Mission
    Walgreens-23rd St. & Mission
    Walgreens-24th St. & Potrero
    Walgreens-30th St & Mission
    Walgreens-Cesar Chavez
    Walgreens-Evans St
    Walgreens-San Bruno
    Walgreens-Van Ness
    ZSFG Pharmacy
    943 Geneva Ave.
    1335 Webster St.
    2675 Geary St.
    1979 Mission St.
    2690 Mission St
    1189 Potrero Ave
    3398 Mission St.
    498 Castro St.
    3400 Cesar Chavez
    3801 3rd St.
    2494 San Bruno Ave.
    1496 Market St.
    5300 3rd St.
    1001 Potrero Ave.
    Phone Number

How much does ella cost?

  • Varies at each pharmacy
  • Can print free coupon from to reduce the cost – may cost as little as $35 at certain pharmacies.
  • If you buy it online from the links above, cost is $67

For more information


  1. Afaxys, Inc. (2016, August). FAQ. From
  2. Ella-KwikMed. (2017).
  3. Glasier, A.F. et al. (2010, February 13). Ulipristal acetate versus levonorgesterel for emergency contraception: a randomized non-inferiority trial and meta-analysis. Lancet 375(9714), pp. 555-62. Abstract at
  4. Office of Population Research & Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. (2016). Answers to frequently asked questions about effectiveness. From
  5. ella important safety information. (2015, March).
Last modified on Friday, April 07, 2017.
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