Just like birth control, there is more than one type of emergency contraception. Although it’s casually referred to as “morning-after pill,” emergency contraception can work beyond the morning after unprotected sex. One of those types is Ella, which is the most effective emergency contraception pill available. Here are five fast facts about Ella and how it works to prevent pregnancy.
Ella is effective up to five days after unprotected sex
Effectiveness is one of the main differences between Ella and Plan B. The morning-after pill, also known as Plan B, is effective only up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Plan B is also less effective the later you take it in that 72-hour window. Ella is effective up to five days after unprotected sex and does not lose effectiveness over that time.
Ella requires a prescription from the doctor
Another important difference between Ella and the morning-after pill is that Ella is not available over the counter at the pharmacy. You need a prescription from your doctor or nurse. Fortunately, Ella is available at all Planned Parenthood locations by appointment (including virtual appointments). If you want to know more about picking up EC at the pharmacy, and what’s available and what’s not, check out our emergency contraception FAQ.
Ella is better for those who weigh 155 lbs or more
Between Plan B and Ella, Ella is the emergency contraception that is most effective for people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or less. It is not effective for women who have a BMI of 35 and more. In terms of weight, Ella is most effective for those who weigh between 155 to 195 lbs. If you weigh more than 195 lbs and need emergency contraception, please talk to your doctor.
Although they are both types of emergency contraception, they affect people’s bodies differently because Plan B and Ella have different medicines in them. Plan B contains levonorgestrel, which is similar to what’s in the birth control pill but with a higher amount. Ella contains ulipristal, which prevents and delays ovulation like Plan B but can also make it harder for a fertilized egg to embed in the uterus.
Ella can be less effective when used with hormonal birth control
If you use hormonal birth control, such as the pill, shot or ring, taking Ella at the same time can reduce the effectiveness of both Ella and your birth control. If you typically use hormonal birth control to prevent pregnancy, and you need to take Ella, then it’s best to wait at least six days after taking Ella to start or restart using your birth control. If you don’t have to take Ella, then Plan B or the copper IUD are better EC choices if you use hormonal birth control.
In the meantime, make sure to use backup birth control methods like condoms to prevent pregnancy. If you take Ella, and need emergency contraception again before your next period, make sure to take Ella again and not Plan B or any other generics.
You can get Ella from your phone
If you need Ella but aren’t sure where to get it, or you don’t think you can get a prescription before the five days are up, then try Planned Parenthood Direct. PP Direct is a free app that will deliver one dose of Ella overnight to your home for a flat fee of $75. Simply download the app for Android or iPhone, answer a few questions and a clinician will respond within one business day. No appointment needed and no insurance is required. PP Direct is also available to both Missouri and Illinois residents.
What’s great about PP Direct also is that you don’t necessarily need to wait until you’ve had unprotected sex to request a prescription. Having a dose or two on hand for, well, emergencies can save a lot of time and hassle.
Planned Parenthood Direct
Get emergency contraception, birth control and UTI treatment right from your phone. With PP Direct, simply answer a few questions and a clinician will get back to you within one business day. Pick up your prescription at your local pharmacy, or have your pills mailed to you. It's that simple!