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Other Uncommon Side Effects

Acne is another ulipristal side effect that has been reported since this product has been on the market. Because acne reports have not been seen in clinical trials, it can be difficult to determine the actual frequency of this side effect. It is also hard to tell whether this side effect is actually caused by the medication itself or by something else.

Common Side Effects of Ulipristal

In clinical studies for most medications, one group of people receives the actual medication, while another group is given a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients). The side effects in both groups are carefully documented and compared. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
However, it is not possible to use a placebo in clinical trials for contraceptives, as this would lead to many unintentional pregnancies. Therefore, some of the possible "side effects" of ulipristal may not really be true side effects, but there is no way of knowing because the studies did not use a placebo.
In studies, the most common ulipristal side effects included:
  • Headaches -- in up to 19 percent of women
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 15 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 13 percent
  • Painful menstrual periods -- up to 13 percent
  • Fatigue -- up to 6 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 5 percent.
After taking ulipristal, some women may experience their period earlier or later than expected by a few days. Women taking ulipristal in clinical trials experienced an increase in cycle length by an average of 2.5 days. If your period is more than a week late, you should contact your healthcare provider and consider taking a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant. Ulipristal, like other emergency contraceptives, is not 100 percent effective.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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