Escapelle - Morning-after pill

This article was medically reviewed by M.Pharm, Marko Tanaskovic on August 12, 2018. To read more about an author, click here.

Escapelle is a drug comprised of levonorgestrel at a dosage of 1.5 mg and belongs to the group of progestogens or emergency oral contraceptives. It is often referred to as the "morning-after pill." It is used after unprotected sexual intercourse or due to the failure of a contraceptive method.

According to the Patient Information Leaflet, Escapelle is effective in 84% of cases if administered within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. The sooner you take the pill, the higher efficacy is. Do not wait 72 hours to take the medicine. It is better to take this medication 24 hours after unprotected intercourse than after 72 hours. It prevents pregnancy but is not effective if you are already pregnant.

How does Escapelle work?

It works in three ways:

  • Prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg cell
  • Prevents the sperm fertilizing the egg
  • It prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus (the most important mechanism)

According to one study, levonorgestrel is most effective if taken within the first 24 hours but its efficiency drops after 24.1

Safety precautions

Escapelle must be used very carefully if you have Crohn's disease (a disease of the small intestine), because it can exacerbate (deterioration) Crohn's disease.

It should not be applied in any of the following conditions:

  • If you have active liver disease
  • If you have ever had an ectopic pregnancy
  • If you have salpingitis (inflammation of the fallopian tubes)
  • If you have an estrogen-dependent tumor
  • If you have problems with the blood vessels
  • If you or anyone in your family have or have ever had a thrombosis

If you are taking medications for treating epilepsy, such as: carbamazepine, phenytoin and phenobarbital, then keep in mind that these medications reduce the blood levels of Escapelle and its efficiency.

Escapelle is an emergency contraceptive method, and accordingly it should be used only in emergencies. This medicine cannot be a substitute for regular contraception.

If applied more frequently (especially if applied more than once during one menstrual cycle), this medicine can disrupt the menstrual cycle and will be be less reliable for preventing unwanted pregnancies.

This drug does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (only a condom does).

It should never be taken if you are already pregnant. If it's been more than 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, you may already be pregnant. Go to your gynecologist for advice.

Small amounts of this medicine are excreted in breast milk but these concentrations are not harmful to your baby. Just in case, take the Escapelle tablet immediately after you breastfeed your baby and avoid breastfeeding for the following six hours. Thus, the amount of Escapelle in breast milk will be reduced to a minimum, because half of the taken dose will have already been eliminated from your body.

It should not be used in girls younger than 16 years.

What if you took Escapelle but you still get pregnant?

Escapelle does not cause birth defects and therefore has no negative impact on the formation of a fetus.

How to use

Take one tablet as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse. Swallow the tablet with some water. The pill is taken regardless of meals.

If you throw up within three hours of taking the medication, then you need to take the Escapelle pill again.

How do you know that Escapelle is efficient?

You will have to wait three weeks to do a pregnancy test.

Escapelle side effects

Escapelle very often causes nausea (up to 26% of women feel sick when they take this medicine), abdominal pain (18%), dizziness and headache (17%) and vomiting (6%).1

To prevent nausea and vomiting, the doctor may recommend that you drink some antiemetic medicine an hour before taking Escapelle.

Other side effects of Escapelle include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Delayed period
  • Abundant menstruation
  • Increased sensitivity of the breast
  • Skin reactions


  1. NCBI link 1

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If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.

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