Generic name: ulipristal [ ue-li-PRIS-tal-AS-e-tate ]
Drug class: Progesterone receptor modulators
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.
Uses for ulipristal
Ulipristal is an emergency contraceptive pill that is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or after failure of another birth control method. It works by preventing or delaying the release of a woman's egg from the ovary (ovulation). It may also prevent the attachment of the woman's egg to the wall of the uterus (womb).
This medicine should not be used as a regular birth control method. Discuss your options for birth control with your doctor.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using ulipristal
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of ulipristal in teenage females. This medicine may be used as an emergency contraceptive in teenage females but is not recommended before the start of menstruation.
Ulipristal should not be used in postmenopausal women.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
- Tranexamic Acid
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Eslicarbazepine Acetate
- Ethinyl Estradiol
- Mycophenolic Acid
- Red Clover
- St John's Wort
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Proper use of ulipristal
To make using emergency contraceptives as safe and reliable as possible, you should understand how and when to use them and what effects may be expected.
This medicine comes with a patient information leaflet. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
Use this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. This medicine is for occasional use as an emergency birth control. It should not replace your regular birth control method. You may use this medicine at any time during your monthly period, but do not use this medicine more than one time in the same monthly period.
You may take this medicine with or without food.
If you vomit within 3 hours of taking this medicine, call your doctor right away. Your doctor may prescribe another tablet for you.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- For emergency contraception:
- Adults—One tablet as soon as possible within 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or after failure of another birth control method.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For emergency contraception:
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using ulipristal
It is very important that your doctor check you closely to make sure this medicine is working properly and does not cause unwanted effects.
Although you are using this medicine to prevent pregnancy, you should know that using this medicine while you are pregnant could harm the unborn baby. Your doctor may give you a pregnancy test before you start using this medicine to make sure you are not pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
Call your doctor right away if you have severe lower stomach pain 3 to 5 weeks after taking this medicine. You may have a pregnancy outside of the uterus (womb), which is called an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy can be a serious and life-threatening condition. It can also cause problems that may make it harder for you to become pregnant in the future.
This medicine may make your next monthly period earlier or later than expected by a few days. If your next period after taking this medicine is more than 1 week late, check with your doctor right away for a pregnancy test.
Do not use any additional emergency pills (eg, levonorgestrel) within 5 days after taking this medicine.
Your regular birth control method including birth control pills, vaginal ring, or patch may not work as well while you are using this medicine. You should not start taking hormonal contraceptives until at least 5 days after using this medicine and you must use a barrier method, including a condom with spermicide, diaphragm, or contraceptive foam or jelly, until the next menstrual cycle.
This medicine will not protect you from getting HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases. If this is a concern for you, talk with your doctor.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal (eg, St. John's wort) or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of ulipristal
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- heavy bleeding
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- stomach pain
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Incidence not known
- Blemishes on the skin
- hives, welts, or itching
- large, hive-like swelling on face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- redness of the skin
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
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