STD Home > What Is Ulipristal Used For?

Ulipristal is approved as a "morning after pill" to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. This emergency contraceptive works by blocking the effects of progesterone, stopping or delaying ovulation, and changing the uterine lining. Ulipristal should be used within 120 hours after unprotected sex. This drug is sometimes used "off-label" to terminate an established pregnancy.

An Overview of Uses for Ulipristal

Ulipristal acetate (ella®) is a prescription emergency contraceptive (commonly known as a "morning after pill"). Emergency contraceptives are used to reduce the chance of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex or a birth control failure.
 
In addition to ulipristal, there are other emergency contraceptives available (such as Plan B®) that should be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Unlike the other emergency contraceptives, ulipristal is approved to be taken within 120 hours (five days) of unprotected sex or birth control failure.
 
Like other emergency contraceptives, ulipristal should not be used as your main form of birth control, because other methods of birth control are usually much more effective. Ulipristal is ideal for use in the case of contraceptive failure (when another form of birth control, such as condoms, fails) or to prevent pregnancy after sexual assault. It should not be used over and over again as a woman's main form of birth control.
 

How Does It Work?

Ulipristal works by blocking the effects of progesterone and prevents pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries) or by preventing fertilization of the egg if ovulation has already occurred. Ulipristal may also alter the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to a fertilized egg.
 
Ulipristal is not approved to end an existing pregnancy and should not be taken if you know or suspect that you may already be pregnant.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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