Prevention & Accidents

For Emergencies, the Morning After Pill

The Morning After Pill

Had an accident with contraception or forgotten to take the pill? Or maybe you did not use contraception? There are many situations when things can go wrong. If an accident occurs a few days before or on the day of ovulation it is possible to get pregnant. Sperm cells that reach the womb can survive for up to five days in optimum conditions and “wait”, so to speak, until ovulation occurs to fertilise the egg. This means at the time of ovulation fertilisation is possible for up to five to seven days after unprotected intercourse. If ovulation has not yet taken place the morning after pill is able to impede or delay ovulation thereby preventing fertilisation.

The morning after pill is an emergency medication. It is most effective the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex!!! Preferably within 12 hours. You can get this without a prescription at any pharmacy. However, this does not provide 100% protection against unwanted pregnancy.

These medications vary and have different active ingredients. The morning after pill containing the active substance levonorgestrel (LNG) can be taken within a maximum of 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected sex and the other containing ulipristal acetate (UPA) within a maximum of 120 hours (5 days).

Minimum Age Requirements...?

When a minor requests a non-prescription drug the pharmacist must exercise special care. The product information for emergency contraceptives containing LNG or UPA do not specify any age restrictions but state they are permitted “... for all women* of child-bearing age”.

But beware!

Girls* under 14 cannot be dispensed the morning after pill without a declaration of consent from a parent or guardian. In this case the pharmacist generally refers you to the doctor. With over 14s dispensing the pill is also at the pharmacist’s discretion. The morning after pill tends to be dispensed from the age of 16. It is quite possible the pharmacist will not dispense the morning after pill. Among other things, this can be for medical reasons in which case the pharmacist will refer you to the gynaecologist as soon as possible.

If the pharmacist does not dispense the morning after pill for other reasons you can turn to another pharmacy or obviously consult a gynaecologist as soon as possible. On weekends or outside opening times every town has an emergency pharmacy. Costs vary depending on the preparation. The pill containing the active ingredient LNG costs between € 16 and € 18 and the one containing the ingredient UPA approx. € 35.