A new emergency contraception or morning after pill ‘Ella’ has been approved by the FDA. This new drug in tablet form may offer protection from an unwanted pregnancy if taken up to 5 days after having unprotected sex or failure of contraception.

morning after pillThe FDA has approved this prescription only drug unanimously, but has warned that this is not a device for routine contraception and is not intended as such. Ella has already been approved and has been sold in Europe as EllaOne.

In the United States, the emergency contraception drug that was hitherto available for women was Plan B, which is sold without prescription to women over the age of 17. Ella, however will require prescription.

The possible side effects of Ella and Plan B are similar: headache, pain, discomfort, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea; however the two are different formulations. Plan B contain levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone whereas Ella contains ulipristal.

This is a non hormone based drug that works by blocking the action of some of the key hormones that are necessary for conception.

Also Plan B is able to be effective up to 72 hours (or three days) after sex, whereas Ella will continue to be effective up to 120 hours or five days after sex.