Sexual Health

I-Pill - When to Take and Its Side Effects

Written by Dr. Vasantha K S and medically reviewed by Dr. Veena Madhankumar

Image: I-Pill - When to Take and Its Side Effects


Accidents do happen. That is the reason we have emergency contraceptive pills such as I-pill available. However, these are not regular birth control pills. They are meant to be used only in emergency situations.

They are never to be used as the primary method of contraception. Also, this tablet is recommended for use by women aged 25 to 45. It is important to note that it is not intended to be used by teenagers whose reproductive organs are still maturing.

Who Needs I-Pill

I-pill is the quick solution, if you are worried about an unplanned pregnancy after:

  • an act of unprotected intercourse.
  • failure of the condom.
  • missing regular birth control pills.
  • forced sex or sexual assault.

How Does I-Pill Work

Depending on where you are in your cycle, the I-pill works in two ways to prevent pregnancy.

  • It prevents the ovaries from releasing the egg.
  • If the egg has already been released, it prevents the egg from getting fertilized or implanting.

How and When to Use I-Pill

Although it is referred to as the 'morning-after pill', it can be taken even right away. It is most effective when taken immediately after the act for up to 24 hours after (90 to 95 %). The effectiveness comes down to 85 % when taken from 25 to 48 hours after and to 58 % when taken between 49 to 72 hours after. If it is taken after 72 hours, it may not work at all.

It comes as a single tablet which is to be taken with water after food to prevent vomiting. If you vomit within three hours after taking the I-pill, it is recommended to take another I-pill as quickly as possible.

What Are the Side Effects

Short-term side effects include:

  • Spotting or bleeding.
  • Nausea.
  • Breast tenderness.
  • Headache.
  • Lower abdomen pain
  • Weight gain.
  • Altered periods (late, early or absent).
  • Hormonal imbalance.
  • Mood swings.
  • Rarely an allergy, causing skin rashes.

Repeated careless usage can affect your periods permanently.

What Happens When I Take I-Pill Without Sperms Entering

If you had an unprotected exposure, but are not sure of your risk of getting pregnant, it is still recommended to take an I-pill as there are no special side effects if taken when you were not exposed to sperms.

When Should I Use Regular Birth Control Again

If you took an I-pill because you missed taking your regular oral contraceptive pills for three days in a row, you could start using your regular pills from the next day onwards.

Reason for Bleeding After Intake of I-Pill

Many women have intermenstrual spotting or bleeding commonly known as 'withdrawal bleeding' five to seven days after taking I-pill. But, if you do not get your periods within three weeks, it is advised to take a pregnancy test.

Will I-Pill Cause Infertility

While the I-pill is not proved to affect fertility and future pregnancies directly, they are hormonal pills that are meant to disrupt the natural cycle of the body. So, when it is taken more than twice in a span of six months, it can throw the menstrual cycle off balance and make ovulation unpredictable. Your periods can become irregular, and the flow can become heavier or lighter.

Does I-Pill Cause Abortion

I-pill prevents pregnancy from happening in the first place. It is to be used only before a pregnancy is established. It does not cause abortion in an already pregnant woman. It has no effect on pregnancy.

If you miss your period even after taking I-pill, it is possible that the pill did not work for you. In that case, consult your doctor for the next course of action.

Is Pregnancy Still Possible After Taking I-Pill

I-pill has a good success rate when taken within the stipulated time. Still, like with any other type of contraception, there is a slight chance of failure with the I-pill too. So, it is still necessary to consult a doctor for a follow up three weeks after taking I-pill to rule out a pregnancy, both uterine and in the tube.

For more information consult a Obstetrician and Gynaecologist online -->

Last reviewed at: 26.Oct.2018



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Related Questions & Answers

Will I-pill tablet work if taken two hours after the act?
Query: Hello doctor, My wife is 25 years old and she had her period on the 14th of last month. On the 1st of this month, while having intercourse, unfortunately, the condom broke. She had taken I-pill within two hours. Can you please advise if the tablet will work or not?  Read Full »
Dr. Richa Agarwal
Obstetrician And Gynaecologist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to I have gone through your history and understand your concerns. As you had I-pill, the chances of pregnancy are not there in your case. Delayed menses, if any, are due to hormonal imbalance caused by I-pill. Just wait and watch for your menses. For more information...  Read Full »
My wife has spotting.There are no signs of pregnancy.Can this be the side effect of ipill?
Query: Hello doctor, Me and my wife had sex on 12th January and she took ipill on 13th January. She had her periods on 21st January. We again had sex on 25th January and 10th February with protection (condoms). On the 10th evening some spotting started and it stopped on 17th February. The spotting was dark...  Read Full »
Dr. Sameer Kumar
Family Physician, Obstetrician And Gynaecologist, Infertility Specialist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to The bleeding due to menses on 21st January after ipill confirmatively rules out pregnancy which could have occurred due to sex on 13th January. The repeat sexual intercourse held on 25th January (she was in her safe period and hence pregnancy is unlikely) and then ...  Read Full »
I took I-pill after 6th and 14th hour of intercourse. Can I be pregnant?
Query: Hi doctor, I took two I-pills after sixth hour and 14th hour of sexual intercourse. Then, a week later I got vaginal bleeding for five days. Am I pregnant? When can I expect my next periods?  Read Full »
Dr. Dattaprasad Balasaheb Inamdar
Obstetrician And Gynaecologist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to You are not pregnant. Your next period will be by first week of next month. For further information consult an obstetrician and gynaecologist online -->  Read Full »

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