Emergency Contraception

All Maternal and Child Health Centres provide Emergency Contraception Service during our service hours.

Women can also attend Accident and Emergency Department, Family Planning Association or Private Hospitals or Private Doctors' Clinics outside our service hours.

  • Emergency contraception can be used if you have had sex but:
    • without using any contraception
    • there was a mistake with contraception, e.g.:
      • Slipped or broken condom
      • Forgot to take your usual oral contraceptive pills
  • Emergency contraception provides a means of preventing unintended pregnancy. It includes:
    • Emergency contraception pills (EC pills)
    • Copper intrauterine device (Cu IUD)
  • Comparison between EC methods
      Failure rate Timing for use Remarks

    Copper intrauterine contraceptive (Cu IUD)

    Less than 1% Within 120 hours after UPSI*
    • The most effective EC method
    • To be inserted by doctor
    • Can be used as regular contraception

    Ulipristal Acetate (UPA EC Pill)

    1 to 2% Within 120 hours after UPSI* To be taken orally

    Progestogen EC Pill (LNG EC Pill)

    2 to 3% Within 72 hours after UPSI* To be taken orally

Emergency Contraceptive Pill (EC Pill)

Two types of EC pills are available in Hong Kong (need doctor's prescription):

  Ulipristal Acetate (UPA EC Pill) Progestogen EC Pill (LNG EC Pill)
Timing for use Within 120 hours after UPSI* or contraceptive failure Within 72 hours after UPSI* or contraceptive failure
Mechanism Primarily by stopping or delaying the release of eggs from the ovary
Failure rate 1 to 2% 2 to 3%
Common side effects Side effects are uncommon. These can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, breast tenderness, abdominal pains and irregular vaginal bleeding (next menses may be normal or may occur several days before or after the expected time)
Any adverse effect on foetus if EC fails? Little data available, cannot conclude as no adverse effect No adverse effect
Can it be used by breastfeeding women? No breastfeeding for 7 days after drug use No breastfeeding at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours after drug use
Proper use of EC pills Using both types of EC pills within the same menstrual cycle is not recommended
Special remarks
  • If you vomit within 3 hours after taking the EC pill, you need to take another dose of EC pill
  • If menses has been delayed for more than 1 week or you suspect that you are pregnant, please consult your doctor for a pregnancy test
  • Use reliable contraception till the next cycle

(*UPSI = unprotected sexual intercourse)

Points to Note after EC (Cu IUD or EC pills)

See the doctor if your next due period is more than 7 days late; you have abdominal pain; you have abnormal vaginal bleeding; or you suspect that you are pregnant.

(Content revised 06/2015)