Generic Levonelle is a morning after pill. It should be taken within 3 days of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Fill in our brief questionnaire and one of our doctors will check whether it's suitable for you.
Generic Levonelle and branded Levonelle both contain the same active ingredient: levonorgestrel. This means that they work in the same way and are both as effective as each other, but generic Levonelle is cheaper. Generic Levonelle is listed as Levonorgestrel when you order.
Because of the current postal delays, generic Levonelle is currently only available to order for future use. If you need to take the morning after pill as soon as possible, you should order ellaOne.
About Generic Levonelle
How do I take Generic Levonelle?
Levonorgestrel should be taken as informed by your doctor and according to the dose instructions in the patient leaflet that comes with the drug.
Ideally you should take the tablet as soon as possible, preferably within 12 hours, and no later than 72 hours after you’ve had unprotected sex or your birth control method has failed. The tablet is most effective when you take it sooner rather than later. When you take it, don’t chew it but swallow it whole with water.
You can take levonorgestrel at any time during the menstrual cycle so long as you aren’t pregnant, although it’s not effective after ovulation. You should also know that if you have unprotected sex after you have taken the tablet then it won’t protect you from getting pregnant from that episode.
Remember that you should only take this in cases of emergencies, and you shouldn’t take too many. If you do take too many, you are likely to get nausea and vomiting. You should seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. On the other hand, if you vomit within three hours of taking the tablet, you need to contact your doctor or pharmacist who will suggest that you take another tablet.
Common side effects
Common and very common side effects include:
- lower abdominal discomfort
- tenderness of the breasts
- irregular bleeding until your next period
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Levonorgestrel is a morning after pill, which is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring female hormone, progesterone. It’s been historically marketed under the brand name Levonelle and because generic Levonelle is the non-branded version it's cheaper.
The prices of morning after pills may vary between pharmacies.
Your chance of not getting pregnant with the copper IUD is over 99.9%. EllaOne and Levonelle are considered less effective, with EllaOne being considered the more effective of the two (98-99% effective). According to the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), the Copper IUD is the best option, followed by EllaOne, and finally Levonelle (97-99% effective).
It’s important to consider some other factors too.
- Neither of the two emergency contraceptive tablets will be effective if you take them after ovulation (only the copper IUD can be inserted up to 5 days after ovulation)
- There are time limits for taking the tablets as well – EllaOne can be used up to 120 hours after unprotected sex while Levonelle can only be used up to 72 hours after
- You might also need to consider whether you have a significantly high BMI or body weight; this can actually impact how well the tablets work, especially Levonelle, where having a BMI over 26 or weight over 70kg can make it less effective. In this case EllaOne or an IUD may be recommended or a double dose of Levonelle however this is “off label”. This means a double dose of Levonelle is not usually prescribed but that doctors may still prescribe it if appropriate.
- The IUD is the only one which you can use on a long-term basis, because it’s inserted in your uterus until you decide to have it removed
Every person is different, and you might be taking some medications that others aren’t. Because of that, you’ll need to talk to your doctor to see if these will affect the type of emergency contraception you can or can’t use. For example, if you’re taking enzyme-inducing drugs, these can affect how effective the tablets can be. Another case might be that you’re taking the contraceptive pill or mini-pill; this can affect how well EllaOne works so you might be recommended one of the other contraceptives.
The emergency contraceptive pill is available for free from most GPs, over the counter at some pharmacies, some A&E departments, and some NHS walk-in centres.
Both the emergency pill and IUD are free from contraception clinics, sexual health clinics, GP surgeries that provide contraception and some young people’s clinics (with registered nurses). If you haven’t got the time to go to a pharmacy, or if you’d rather not go in, you can also conveniently get levonorgestrel by using our online service. ZAVA can provide you with a prescription and send the medication to your chosen address.
Most women can take generic Levonelle, but for a few women it might not be safe or effective. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re taking any other medications before you come to a decision to take levonorgestrel. The reason for this is that it could interact with the other medications making the other medications ineffective, making levonorgestrel ineffective or causing some harmful effects.
You’re not advised to take levonorgestrel if you’re taking any of the following:
- Certain antibiotics or antifungal medicines
- Barbiturates to treat seizures or induce sleep
- Certain medicines to treat seizures
- Certain HIV medications
- Some weight loss medications
You also shouldn’t take levonorgestrel if you fall under any of the categories below:
- Women who are already pregnant
- Women with very poor liver function
- Women who are allergic to any of the ingredients in levonorgestrel, or feel that they might have experienced an allergic reaction while using the drug
- Women who have a disease of the small bowel that prevents absorption of the drug e.g. Crohn’s disease
Even if your doctor has advised it is safe for you to take levonorgestrel, you should remember that, like any drug, you may experience some side effects and it’s always recommended to check the manufacturer’s leaflet for a full list of potential side effects and drug interactions before taking levonorgestrel. If you do, then you need to inform your doctor, especially if any persist and start to affect your daily life. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme, and in this way you can provide some helpful information about the safety of the medication.
Common side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding/ spotting
It’s important to know that taking levonorgestrel can make your next period late or early and it is always recommended to check a pregnancy test 3 weeks after any unprotected sex to make sure you are not pregnant.
Clinical Guideline: Emergency Contraception (March 2017, amended December 2017) FSRH [accessed 9 July 2020]
emc. Ezinelle 1.5mg tablet (levonorgestrel). [online] Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.8623.pdf [accessed 4th January 2018].
NHS Emergency contraception (morning after pill, IUD) (2018) NHS [accessed 9 July 2020]