Better Health Channel
  • Emergency contraception can prevent an unintended pregnancy after having unprotected sex.
  • The copper IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception and can be used as very effective ongoing contraception for up to 10 years. 
  • The copper IUD can be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
  • There are 2 types of emergency contraception pills – levonorgestrel and ulipristal acetate (sold as EllaOne™). Both are available without a prescription.
  • Emergency contraception pills are around 85% effective in preventing an unintended pregnancy. Ulipristal acetate is more effective than levonorgestrel.
  • The emergency contraceptive pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. 
  • Levonorgestrel is intended to be taken up to 4 days after unprotected sex. 
  • Ulipristal acetate is intended to be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
  • Condoms give the best available protection against sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

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Reviewed on: 20-03-2023