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Women primarily use ella for preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure. As an emergency contraceptive, or a "morning after pill," ella works by blocking the effects of progesterone, stopping ovulation, and altering the lining of the uterus. This pill can also be used off-label to terminate an established pregnancy.

What Is Ella Used For?

ella® (ulipristal acetate) is a prescription emergency contraceptive (commonly known as a "morning after pill"). Emergency contraceptives are used to reduce the chance of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex or a birth control failure.
In addition to ella, there are other emergency contraceptives available (such as Plan B®) that should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Unlike the other emergency contraceptives, ella is approved for use within 120 hours (five days) of unprotected sex or birth control failure.
Like other emergency contraceptives, ella should not be used as your main form of birth control, because other methods of birth control are usually much more effective. ella is ideal for use in the case of contraceptive failure (when another form of birth control, such as condoms, fails) or to prevent pregnancy after sexual assault. It should not be used over and over again as a woman's main form of birth control.

How Does It Work?

ella contains ulipristal acetate. Ulipristal works by blocking the effects of progesterone and prevents pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries) or by preventing fertilization of the egg if ovulation has already occurred. ella may also alter the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to a fertilized egg.
ella is not approved to end an existing pregnancy and should not be taken if you know or suspect that you may already be pregnant.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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