Emergency Contraception (morning after pill)


If you have had unprotected sex very recently and are worried that you might be pregnant you still have a contraception option available to you.

Emergency contraception (EC) is a pill you can take up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. It is most effective if taken within 24 hrs. This can be useful if:

  • You didn’t use any contraception
  • The condom broke / you're worried your contraception failed (ie - forgot the pill that day)
  • You have been sexually assaulted

You can access EC at a pharmacy, True (formerly Family Planning Queensland), sexual health service, or hospital emergency department (this can be useful for small towns where other services may no be available). A very small number of pharmacists do not dispense emergency contraception due to religious values, if this does happen to you, just go to another pharmacy as it is very important you take emergency contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.

You must be 16 or older to get it without a script at a pharmacy. If you are under 16 - head to Family Planning QLD clinic, a sexual health service, local emergency department or GP for a script. This might feel daunting, but dealing with a pregnancy can be even more daunting!

But remember it doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases.


For more in depth information and instructions talk with a pharmacist or visit betterhealth.vic.gov.au - emergency contraception page

Last edited on: 

Thursday, August 17, 2017


It can either:

            Prevent ovulation from occurring (if it hasn’t already) so this means that the sperm can’t fertilize the egg.


            Prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. This means pregnancy can’t develop.

Last edited on: 

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Emergency contraception (EC) can be available:

  • Over the counter at pharmacies/chemist (if you are 16 and older),
  • Family Planning Queensland clinic,
  • Sexual health clinics or
  • Hospital emergency department.

If you are under 16, you will need a script from your doctor to get it at a pharmacy. Otherwise, you can head straight to the Family Planning Clinic, sexual health clinic or hospital emergency department.

If you get it at a chemist, each one will have a different procedure. Some will make you show ID, some won’t. They will often ask questions like:

  • What is your name and address (if you don’t have ID)
  • Have you used it before?
  • When did the unprotected sex occur?
  • Do you have any allergies?

They are asking this to ensure that the EC is suitable for you, not to be nosey.

It can cost around $25

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Most effective =   Taken within 24 hours of ‘the sex'.

(97-99% effective if taken in this window.)


Works well =   Taken within 24 - 72 hours of ‘the sex’.


Reduced effectiveness =  Taken within 72-120 hours after ‘the sex’


ALWAYS follow this up with a pregnancy test at your expected period date!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


There are some side effects such as nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. These are usually minor, and most improve within 1 to 2 days. If you are unsure about anything you are experiencing after taking emergency contraception, see a pharmacist or doctor immediately.

If your period does not return on schedule, take a pregnancy test and/or see a doctor or school nurse.

Last edited on: 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016