What is ella?

ella is a form of emergency contraception. This means it is a type of birth control used after unprotected intercourse or suspected contraceptive failure (e.g. a broken condom) to prevent pregnancy. It cannot be purchased over-the-counter and is only available by prescription in the United States. ella is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.1 It is only to be used for a single episode of unprotected intercourse.2 

Give us a call.  We are here to listen to your questions and talk about your options.

Is ella effective?

If ella is taken as directed, it will reduce the chance of pregnancy, but it is not effective in every case.

In the two studies mentioned in the package insert, ella reduced the number of expected pregnancies from about 5.5% to an observed number of about 2%.3 It is important to realize that this number is an estimate based on the number of pregnancies per 100 women at risk for pregnancy as calculated based upon the timing of intercourse with regard to each woman’s menstrual cycle.4

Should I take ella?

Many times women panic after having unprotected sex and rush to take emergency contraception, such as ella. However, you can only become pregnant on certain days of the month — around the time that you ovulate. Taking ella during a time when you cannot become pregnant needlessly exposes you to a new drug that has not been fully tested.

ella should not be used if you are or may be pregnant, if you are breast-feeding, for regular contraceptive use, or more than once during one menstrual cycle.5 According to the manufacturers, pregnancy should be excluded before prescribing ella.6 If pregnancy cannot be excluded on the basis of history and/or physical examination, pregnancy testing should be performed.7

To find out if you are pregnant, call us, and we’ll connect you with a caring, qualified pregnancy resource center near you.

Can ella cause an abortion?

ella may act to reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by preventing or postponing ovulation. It may also change the lining of the uterus so that the embryo cannot implant in the uterus.8

The manufacturers of ella claim that the drug will not cause an abortion when it is taken correctly. This is based upon the assumption that life begins when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall. However, the scientific reality is that life begins at conception when the egg is fertilized. When the sperm penetrates the egg (fertilization), the sex, hair, eye color, height, etc. have all been determined and a new life has begun.

ella works by blocking progesterone, which is a hormone needed for the establishment and maintenance of a pregnancy. When progesterone is blocked, the embryo is prevented from attaching to the uterus. If the embryo is already attached to the uterus, then the connection to the womb is dissolved and the embryo detaches and dies. This is clearly an abortion. Only limited studies were done with women who were early in pregnancy. However, based upon how this drug worked in animals that were tested, it is reasonable to expect that ella would also have an abortive effect on early pregnancies in humans.

Does ella have side effects and risks?

The most common adverse reactions of ella include headache, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, menstrual cramps, fatigue, and dizziness.Women who experience abdominal pain three to five weeks after using ella should be evaluated right away for an ectopic pregnancy by a physician.10 An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.  After a woman takes ella, her period may occur earlier or later than expected by a few days.11

Remember, your body and health are important, so take time to make the best decision. Please call us to get more information.

 

NOTE: Pregnancy Decision Line and our network of participating pregnancy resource centers offer peer counseling and accurate information about all pregnancy options; however, we do not offer or refer for abortion services or emergency contraception. The information presented on this website is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.

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References

1. ella package insert. “Indications and Uses.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

2. ella package insert. “How effective is ella?” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

3. ella package insert. “Clinical Studies.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 22, 2010)

4. ella package insert. “Clinical Studies.” Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 22, 2010)

5. ella package insert. “Patient Counseling Information.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

6. ella package insert. “Warnings and Precautions.” Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

7. ella package insert. “Existing Pregnancy.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

8. ella package insert.” Mechanism of Action.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

9. ella package insert. “Adverse Reactions.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

10. ella package insert. “Patient Counseling Information.”  Package insert available at: http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 30, 2010)

11. ella package insert. “Effect on Menstrual Cycle.”  Package insert available at http://pi.watson.com/data_stream.asp?product_group=1699&p=pi&language=E (Accessed December 20, 2010)

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