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    Information about Levonorgestrel

    Levonorgestrel uses

    Levonorgestrel is used for emergency contraception. It provides a safe and effective way to prevent an unintended pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

    How levonorgestrel works

    Levonorgestrel is a progestin (female hormones). It works to prevent pregnancy by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from the ovary, or preventing fertilization (union) of the egg by sperm. It may also alter the lining of the uterus (womb) to stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

    Common side effects of levonorgestrel

    Edema (swelling), Abdominal bloating, Anxiety, Irritability, Depression, Muscle pain

    Available Medicine for Levonorgestrel

    • ₹73
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      1 variant(s)

    Expert advice for Levonorgestrel

    • Levonorgestrel is a single tablet; you only have to take 1 dose for it to work.
    • Take as soon as possible, preferably within 12 hours and not later than 72 hours (3 days) of having unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.
    • Notify your doctor if you vomit within 2 hours of taking Levonorgestrel.
    • Levonorgestrel is not as effective as regular methods of contraception and should be used only as an emergency measure.
    • Take a pregnancy test about a week after you take Levonorgestrel as there is a 5-10% chance that it may not have worked.

    Frequently asked questions for Levonorgestrel


    Q. What is Levonorgestrel?

    It is an emergency contraceptive tablet which is used in case of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure to prevent unwanted pregnancy.

    Q. When is it appropriate to take Levonorgestrel tablet?

    You should take it only in emergency situations such as unprotected sex, contraceptive failure (eg. broken condom) or irregular use of your birth control pills.

    Q. How should I take Levonorgestrel?

    Take one tablet as soon as possible, not later than 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

    Q. How effective is Levonorgestrel?

    The sooner you take it, the more effective it is. Levonorgestrel significantly reduces your chances of becoming pregnant if used within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

    Q. What are the side effects of Levonorgestrel?

    It is almost safe for all women. Some common side effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache and lower abdominal pain may occur. Your breasts may become more tender than usual. There is a possibility of unexpected vaginal bleeding, but this should clear up by the time you get your next period. Your periods may become irregular. Go for a pregnancy test if they are delayed by more than a week.

    Q. Can I take Levonorgestrel during breastfeeding?

    Yes, it is safe during breastfeeding. It is unlikely to cause any significant effect on milk quantity that can affect the infant adversely.

    Q. How often can I use Levonorgestrel?

    It can be taken more than once in a month but it is advised only for emergency contraception. Keep using regular contraception like condoms, regular birth control pills, IUDs etc. for avoiding unwanted pregnancy.

    Q. Is a pregnancy test required after taking Levonorgestrel?

    Although Levonorgestrel significantly reduces your chances of pregnancy, if your periods are delayed by more than a week, a pregnancy test is recommended. However, if you decide on continuing the pregnancy, you may do so as Levonorgestrel does not work if pregnancy has already been established. It not cause harm to the foetus.

    Q. Can Levonorgestrel be taken for regular birth control?

    No, it is not indicated for regular birth control. It is used only as an emergency measure after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.

    Q. Can Levonorgestrel protect against Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs) and HIV / AIDS?

    No, it does not offer any protection from HIV / AIDS or other Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs). You can use condoms to protect yourself from STDs and HIV / AIDS.

    Q. What is the difference between 'emergency contraceptive pill' and 'abortion pill'?

    Pregnancy starts once the fertilized egg gets attached to the lining of the uterus (womb). Abortion pills contain medicine, which hinders the development of a pregnancy after it has occurred and also alters the character of the womb lining in a way that the fertilized egg gets detached, hence causing abortion. On the other hand, emergency contraceptive pills like Levonorgestrel contain female hormones which delay the release of egg or prevent movement of sperm towards the egg. This prevents fertilization and hence pregnancy. Levonorgestrel does not have any effect on a fertilized egg and hence does not cause abortion.

    Q. Is Levonorgestrel effective if frequent acts of intercourse have occurred in a short duration of time?

    Yes. It is effective if you have had several acts of intercourse in a short span of time. However, it is important that these acts have occurred within 72 hours before taking Levonorgestrel. Also, since there is a chance of unintended pregnancy after frequent acts of unprotected sex in the same cycle, it is advisable to use a barrier contraceptive method (e.g. condom) until the next period even after using Levonorgestrel.

    Content on this page was last updated on 26 February, 2018, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)