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While most women do not experience any problems with ella, negative reactions are possible. Some of the common side effects reported with ella include headaches, nausea, and fatigue. In most cases, these problems are minor and easy to treat. However, you should seek immediate medical care if you experience more serious reactions, such as difficulty breathing or severe lower abdominal (stomach) pain.

An Introduction to Ella Side Effects

As with any medicine, ella® (ulipristal acetate) can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes this contraceptive will have problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with ella. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Common Side Effects of Ella

In clinical studies for most medications, one group of people receives the actual medication, while another group is given a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients). The side effects in both groups are carefully documented and compared. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
However, it is not possible to use a placebo in clinical trials for contraceptives, as this would lead to many unintentional pregnancies. Therefore, some of the possible "side effects" of ella may not really be true side effects, but there is no way of knowing because the studies did not use a placebo.
In studies, the most common ella side effects included:
  • Headaches -- in up to 19 percent of women
  • Abdominal pain (stomach pain) -- up to 15 percent
  • Nausea -- up to 13 percent
  • Painful menstrual periods -- up to 13 percent
  • Fatigue -- up to 6 percent
  • Dizziness -- up to 5 percent.
After taking ella, some women may experience their period earlier or later than expected by a few days. Women taking ella in clinical trials experienced an increase in cycle length by an average of 2.5 days. If your period is more than a week late, you should contact your healthcare provider and consider taking a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant. ella, like other emergency contraceptives, is not 100 percent effective.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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