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Available by prescription only, ulipristal is a type of "morning after pill" used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. This emergency contraceptive works by blocking the effects of progesterone. This action can stop or delay ovulation and alter the lining of the uterus. It comes in tablet form and should be taken within five days after unprotected sex.

What Is Ulipristal?

Ulipristal acetate (ella®) is a prescription emergency contraceptive (a "morning after pill"). Emergency contraceptives are used to reduce the chances of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex or after a potential birth control failure. Because ulipristal is not as effective as many other forms of birth control, it is not intended for regular use as a contraceptive (it is intended for emergency use only).
(Click What Is Ulipristal Used For? for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, ulipristal can cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. Most women tolerate it quite well.
If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of ulipristal include but are not limited to:
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain)
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness.
(Click Side Effects of Ulipristal to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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