Good practice at the counter guide

A discussion guide has been developed to help you choose the most appropriate EHC for your customers. It is available here to download and is also available as a tear off pad to ensure you have all the information you need to make the right recommendation.eO_PharmaConsultationGuide_Pad_IE_280415P4P-1

As part of the support for women, we have developed an information leaflet to supplement the PIL. The leaflet is intended to be given to a woman when once it has been decided that ellaOne® is the appropriate product for her. It answers the most commonly asked questions, such as what to do if she vomits, whether further intercourse will be protected, what to expect with her next period and more.


Step 1: Listen A woman comes to your pharmacy and asks for the morning after pill. Listen to her needs. Women can download an ellaOne® app, where they can display on their mobile phone screen a request for emergency contraception. They may use this if they are embarrassed to approach the counter when others are around, to request somewhere more private to talk, or that they wish to speak with the pharmacist. Ensure that you and your team are prepared to be approached in this way and be as discreet as possible.

she asks you for the MAP (1280x853)

Step 2: Reassure

Step 3: Encourage immediate action
  • Emergency contraception is most effective when used as soon as possible1,2 after unprotected sex3
Step 4:
Advise about sex after ellaOne®
  • A rapid return to fertility is likely following treatment with an emergency contraceptive pill.
  • A barrier method of contraception must be used until your next period – even if you are continuing with an oral method of contraception (OC).1,2
  • The emergency contraceptive pill is for occasional use only: it should not be used to replace a regular contraceptive method.1,2
  • If she requires advice, suggest she visit her GP or Family Planning Clinic for information about regular contraceptive options.
  • Oral emergency contraception is not 100% effective.
  • Emergency contraceptive pill does not protect from STIs.2,4
  • Only condoms protect against STIs.
Step 5:
Advise what to do if the woman is sick
  • If vomiting occurs within 3 hours of taking emergency contraception, you should take another tablet as soon as possible.1,2
Step 6:
Advise about the next menstrual period
  • After taking oral emergency contraception, menstrual periods can sometimes occur earlier or later than expected by a few days.1,2
  • If your period is more than seven days late or pregnancy is suspected for any other reason (symptoms of pregnancy, abnormal bleeding at the expected date of menstrual periods) or in case of doubt, you should do a pregnancy test or visit your doctor to make sure you are not pregnant.1,2


Pharmacists’ role when providing ellaOne®

Discussing emergency contraception can be distressing for women and it can also be uncomfortable for pharmacists.

You can help by:

  • Being matter-of-fact
  • Re-assuring them they have done the right thing
  • Offering them a more private place to talk if possible (e.g. the consultation room)
  • Using customer’s language (referring to the “Morning-after pill” or “Day-after pill” instead of EHC)
  • Having a warm and positive approach

You can use the good practice at the counter guide as a framework for your conversation.

Customer satisfaction and comfort in discussing ECPs with a pharmacist can be very high.

1. ellaOne® Summary of Product Characteristics. Available at: Accessed September 2015.
2. World Health Organization. (In association with the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, International Federation of Gynacology and Obstetrics, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Department of Reproductive Health and Research). Fact sheet on the safety of levonorgestrel-alone emergency contraceptive pills. Available at: Accessed October 2013.
3. Taylor B. Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care 2003: 29(2): 7.