The Morning After Pill in Malta
What is it?
The morning after pill is a type of emergency contraception. It is a special type of contraceptive that is used after a woman has had sex to prevent pregnancy. It can be used after unprotected sex (no contraceptive was used at all) or after a regular contraceptive has failed (eg: a condom burst).
The EllaOne, a type of morning after pill, can be taken up to five days after sex. However, the sooner a morning after pill is taken, the more likely it is to prevent pregnancy.
The morning after pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you believe you may be at risk of an STI, see your GP or attend GUM clinic.
The morning after pill is available in Malta without the need of a doctor's prescription, but barriers to accessing it still exist.
Important facts about the morning after pill
The morning after pill works by preventing pregnancy. It does not cause an abortion. It is not an abortion pill.
The morning after pill is around 75% effective at preventing pregnancy. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it will be.
Taking the morning after pill does not reduce your fertility in the future.
There is no limit to how many times you can take the morning after pill, although you should consider a regular contraceptive such as the regular pill if you wish to prevent pregnancy in the future. Regular contraceptives are generally cheaper than the morning after pill. Click here for more information about regular contraceptives in Malta.
If you take a morning after pill, you should not rely on the regular contraceptive pill until your next period. This is because the morning after pill can make the regular pill less effective for a few days. If you take a morning after pill you should use condoms until your next period.
Cost and Types of Morning After Pill
Prices for emergency contraception in Malta vary from EUR 19 to EUR 25 per pill in most cases.
EllaOne contains the ingredient uripristal acetate. It works by stopping ovulation by modifying the action of the natural hormone progesterone. It should be taken as soon as possible after sex, although it can still work up to five days (120 hours) after sex. No dose adjustment is necessary for women in the overweight or obese BMI range. Women with severe asthma or severe liver disease should seek medical advice before taking EllaOne.
For more information about EllaOne see the patient information leaflet here:
There is also more information on EllaOne's UK website: www.ellaone.co.uk
Levonelle (also known as Levonelle 1500) contains the ingredient levonorgestrel. It can be used up to three days (72 hours) after sex.
Escapelle is another morning after pill that contains the ingredient levonorgestrel, and can be taken up to three days (72 hours) after sex.
Escapelle's website allows you to find pharmacies that sell it, and it also covers Malta:
There is also more information about Escapelle on its website: www.escapelle.com
Accessing the Morning After Pill in Malta
The morning after pills are available over the counter from many pharmacies across Malta and Gozo. However, individual pharmacists are allowed to conscientiously object from dispensing it. This means that certain pharmacists may refuse to sell you the morning after pill, but they are obliged to inform you of other pharmacists who would be willing to dispense it. As professionals, all pharmacists must remain non-judgemental and maintain confidentiality.
A significant disadvantage is that the morning after pill is not currently available at the public hospital. This is a problem for women who are admitted to hospital (eg: after a sexual assault) and wish to have the morning after pill. What usually happens in these situations is that a friend or relative is asked to purchase the morning after pill from an outside pharmacy. As doctors for choice, we believe this is less than ideal and we will be campaigning for the morning after pill to be available in the public hospital.