Levonorgestrel is an emergency contraceptive.

Pronunciation: LEE-voe-nor-JES-trel

What are levonorgestrel’s uses?

Levonorgestrel is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or following a birth control accident such as a broken condom or forgotten pills. It’s commonly known as the “morning-after pill” and is available over the counter from your Clicks pharmacist.

Levonorgestrel is a progesterone-based contraceptive.

What dosage should you take?

Levonorgestrel comes in pill form and a dose of 1.5mg must be taken not more than 72 hours after intercourse. However, it is most effective within 24 hours.

Always check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist first.

TAKE NOTE: There are restrictions on the sale of the morning-after pill in that it may only be sold to the user herself and not a third party. Certain information will be required by the dispensing pharmacist and is recorded confidentially on a questionnaire. This will ensure correct counselling and use by the consumer.

What special precautions should you take?

  • If vomiting occurs within three to four hours of taking the dosage, another dosage should be taken immediately.
  • Do not use it if you are or suspect you are pregnant.
  • If you still fall pregnant despite using levonorgestrel consult your doctor, as an ectopic pregnancy is a possibility.
  • Consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist about whether you can use it if you’re breastfeeding.
  • It should not be used as a regular contraceptive.
  • It does not protect against HIV infection and others sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
  • Don’t drink alcohol if you’ve taken levonorgestrel.

Levonorgestrel should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • If you’ve had a stroke
  • Breast cancer, or genital tract tumours
  • A blood clotting disorder
  • Severe liver impairment and disease
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Thromboembolism
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Arterial disease

It should be used with caution if you suffer from the following conditions, hence consult your doctor or Clicks pharmacist first:

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

What are levonorgestrel’s side effects?

Its side effects could include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Changes in menstrual flow
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Call a doctor immediately if you suspect an overdose, including the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting

How Clicks Clinics can help you with family planning

Your Clicks Clinic nursing practitioner can also help you with any family planning needs as part of Clicks Clinic Family Planning Services, including:

  • Consultations and injections: contraception, cycles, hormonal and fertility
  • Contraceptive and fertility injections administered as per your doctor's prescription (dependent on stock availability), as well as the insertion of Implanon

To find the closest Clicks Clinic to you to book an appointment, click here. Alternatively, call 0860 254 257 or +27 21 460 1009 (outside South Africa). 

Shop for condoms on Clicks.co.za

Don't be caught unawares – rather stock up on condoms so that you can ensure you're practising safe sex at all times. If you'd prefer the convenience of shopping for them online, click here

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015