Levonorgestrel - 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.

This medicine belongs to the family of medicines called progestogens. Levonorgestrel is an emergency oral contraceptive that is taken after unprotected sexual intercourse. This pills are known as "morning after pill".

Studies have shown that levonorgestrel prevents 84 % of expected pregnancies if taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sexual intercourse. Levonorgestrel efficacy is better if you take the tablet as soon as possible after unprotected sexual intercourse. Levonorgestrel effects include:

  • Preventing your ovaries to release an egg.
  • Preventing sperm from fertilizing an released egg.
  • Preventing a fertilized egg from attaching itself to the uterine lining.

This pill does not work if you are already pregnant.


This medicine should be avoided in following conditions:

  • Small intestine diseases (such as Crohn's disease).
  • Liver damage.
  • In patients who have had ectopic pregnancy.
  • Salpingitis (inflammation of the Fallopian tubes)
  • This medicine will not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

It should be taken during the meal.

Use of Levonorgestrel during pregnancy and breastfeeding

If you are pregnant

This medicine should not be taken if you are already pregnant.

If you do not take a pill within 72 hours, maybe are you already pregnant and the pill will not be effective.

If you are breastfeeding

This medicine passes into breast milk (in low concentrations). Avoid breastfeeding while taking this medicine.

Use with other medications (Interactions)

This medicine should be avoided in combination with following medicines:

  • Primidone
  • Phenytoin and Carbamazepine
  • Rifampicin
  • Rifabutin
  • Ritonavir
  • Grizeofulvin
  • St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  • Cyclosporine.

Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal products you are taking.

How to use

Consult your doctor before you start taking this medicine.

  1. Take this medicine as soon as possible (if possible within the first 12 hours) after you had unprotected sexual intercourse. Swallow the tablet whole, with a glass of water.

This medicine should be used in emergency cases only, and should not be used as a regular birth control method.

Brand names: Mirena and Skyla.

Information on this website are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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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