Good practice at the counter guide

Step 1: Listen A woman comes to your pharmacy and asks for the morning-after -illshe asks you for the MAP (1280x853)
Step 2: Reassure
  • If you had unprotected sex in the last 5 days and you wish to avoid becoming pregnant, you are right to ask for the emergency contraceptive pill1,2

HRA-Paharmacie-Situations-497 (1280x853)

Step 3: Encourage immediate action You should take emergency contraception as soon as possible1,2 because it is most effective when used as soon as possible after unprotected sex3HRA-Paharmacie-Situations-443 (1280x853)
Step 4: Advise about sex after EC intake A rapid return to fertility is likely following treatment with an emergency contraceptive pill.A barrier method of contraception must be used until your next period – even if you are continuing with an oral method of contraception (OC).1,2The emergency contraceptive pill is for occasional use only: it should not be used to replace a regular contraceptive method.1,2 Oral emergency contraception is not 100% effective and its efficacy is lower than a regular contraceptive method.1,2 Please see your doctor to discuss the various regular contraceptive options.You should continue or start regular contraception to prevent pregnancy in the future.1,2 Emergency contraceptive pill does not protect from STIs.2,4Only condoms protect against STIs.
Step 5: Advise what to do if the woman is sick If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of emergency contraception intake you should take another tablet as soon as possible.1,2
Step 6: Advise about the next menstrual period After taking oral emergency contraception, menstrual periods can sometimes occur earlier or later than expected by a few days.1,2If your period is more than five days late or pregnancy is suspected for any other reason (symptoms of pregnancy, abnormal bleeding at the expected date of menstrual periods) or in case of doubt, you should do a pregnancy test or visit your doctor to make sure you are not pregnant.1,2HRA-Paharmacie-Situations-368 - Copie (800x533)


Pharmacists’ role when providing ellaOne®

Discussing emergency contraception can be distressing for women and it can also be uncomfortable for pharmacists.

You can help by:

  • Being matter-of-fact
  • Making their experience as easy as possible
  • Offering them a more private place to talk if possible
  • Using customer’s language e.g. Morning-after pill, Day-after pill
  • Having a warm and positive approach

You can use the good practice at the counter guide as a framework for your conversation.

Customer satisfaction and comfort in discussing ECPs with a pharmacist can be very high.3

1.ellaOne® European Union Summary of Product Characteristics.
2.World Health Organization. (In association with the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, International Federation of Gynacology 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: AccessedOctober2013.
3. Taylor B. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 2003: 29(2): 7.