Dispelling myths about oral or hormonal emergency contraception

  • Several studies have shown that facilitating access to EC does not increase sexual or contraceptive risk-taking behaviour1
  • A number of studies show that women and adolescents with greater access to EC are not more likely to engage in unprotected intercourse, and are more likely to adopt an ongoing contraceptive method after EC use2,3
  • Use of ECPs has no effect on future fertility1,4
  • There is no indication demonstrating that ECPs harm a developing foetus if they are mistakenly taken early in preg­nancy1,5
  • ECPs do not interrupt an existing pregnancy1,4
  • Women find the label and instructions easy to understand1,6
  • ECPs do not protect against STIs.7 Only condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections
  • ECPs do not provide contraceptive cover for unprotected intercourse in the days after intake7


1.World Health Organization. (In association with the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Department of Reproductive Health and Research). Fact sheet on the safety of levonorgestrel-alone emergency contraceptive pills. Available at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2010/WHO_RHR_HRP_10.06_eng.pdf. Accessed October 2013.
2.Polis et al. The Cochrane Library 2013, Issue 7.
3.Gainer E et al. Contraception 2003; 68(2): 117-24.
4.ellaOne® European Summary of Product Characteristics.
5.HRA Pharma Data on file. Clinical overview.
6.ellaOne® readability testing
7.NHS choices – emergency contraception. Available at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/emergency-contraception.aspx. Accessed October 2013.