Sales of the morning-after pill jumped by 122 per cent as couples started spending more time together during lockdown, figures reveal.
UK-based online pharmacy Doctor-4-U reported the month-on-month increase in sales of both ellaOne and Levonelle between February and March.
NHS walk-in centres, pharmacies, contraception clinics and some GP surgeries provide emergency contraception for free. However it can also be bought online.
Dr Diana Gall, a consultant with Doctor-4-U, explained she thought the sales spike and increased time at home were linked.
She said: ‘Since the lockdown we have seen an enormous rise in demand for the morning after pill.
‘Understandably if couples are at home for longer spells, they are more likely to be having intercourse, but some may not be thinking about birth control until it’s too late.’
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you have used has failed – for example, a condom has split or you have missed a pill.
Levonelle has to be taken within three days of unprotected sex. ellaOne has to be taken within five. The sooner the pill is taken the more effective it is.
However the NHS stresses that the morning-after pill should not be used instead of regular contraception.
Dr Gall agreed: ‘The emergency contraception pill should not be a replacement for traditional birth control and I would urge people to use long-established methods of contraception instead.
‘For example, there are certain medications that can alter the effectiveness of the morning-after pill by interfering with the way your liver processes drugs.’
Epilepsy medications, some HIV drugs and St John’s Wort, an over-the-counter herbal remedy that treats mild depression can all prevent the pill from working.