A NEW morning-after pill which can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex is now available to women in East Sussex.
The EllaOne pill is available without prescription from chemists or sexual health services and can also be provided for free with a prescription by GPs.
The new pill marks an advance in technology from traditional emergency hormonal contraception, which can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex. However, the new pill is still more effective the sooner it is taken.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex acting director of public health, said: “The new pill offers greater choice and can help more women who find themselves at risk of unintended pregnancy.
“It’s important that anyone who finds themselves in this position seeks advice as soon as possible.
“The morning-after pill should not be used as a form of routine contraception, and I would urge all women who would like advice on contraception to contact their local GP, chemist or sexual health service to discuss the options available to them.”
In East Sussex and nationally, around 20 per cent of conceptions led to a termination in 2012.
Taking the morning-after pill, which prevents or delays ovulation, has been shown to not cause any serious or long-term health problems.
However, common side-effects include stomach pain, headaches, irregular menstrual bleeding, nausea and tiredness. Less common side-effects include breast tenderness, dizziness and vomiting.
Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Chlamydia testing will be offered to all women requesting the morning-after pill to rule out undiagnosed chlamydia, a frequent cause of infection which can lead to fertility problems and pelvic pain.
The EllaOne pill is available from all GPs, pharmacies and specialist sexual health services in East Sussex.
Information on the range of contraception in the county and where to obtain it can be found at www.eastsussexsexualhealth.co.uk