Emergency contraception (EC) is available in Italy: LNG EC, UPA EC, and the use of IUD for EC are included in guidelines for family planning, and local pharmacies distribute EC, but EC is not reimbursed or covered by social security.

Sexual & reproductive health background information

Female population aged 15-49 Mean age at first sexual intercourse Mean age at birth of first child Total fertility rate % use of modern contraceptive methods
Estimate 13,303,0001 18.12 30.33 1.414 40.6%5
Year 2015 2005 2011 2010 1995-96

Accessibility & prescription status

Until recently in Italy, a prescription was mandatory in order to buy any LNG EC product. But since October 2015, one brand of LNG EC (Escapelle) can be dispensed without prescription (behind the counter) to women over 18 years of age.

Since April 2015, UPA EC is available behind the counter from pharmacies for women who are 18 years of age or older. This means that UPA EC can be bought without a prescription but is not on the shelves of the pharmacy, and needs to be requested to the pharmacy clerk. For women and girls under 18 years old, UPA EC is available only with a prescription. Physicians are the sole health care professionals who are authorized to prescribe LNG EC.


Type of EC Approximate Cost Brand(s) Available
LNG € 13,10 Escapelle, NorLevo 1.5mg
UPA € 26,90 ellaOne

The cost of EC is not reimbursed or covered by social security in Italy.

Guidelines & common practices

In February 2015, the Italian edition of Emergency Contraception: A guideline for service provision in Europe was published, titled Contraccezione di emergenza: Una linea guida per la fornitura di servizi in Europa. This edition was published with the endorsment of the Societa’ Italiana di Ginecologia e Ostetricia, Associazione Ostetrici Ginecologi Ospedalieri Italiani, Societa’ Medica Italiana per la Contraccezione, Societa’ Italiana della Contraccezione, and Associazione Ginecologi Territoriali. Included in these guidelines are recommendations on LNG and UPA EC pills as well as on the use of IUD for EC.

In April 2015, the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) announced that UPA EC will be available for sale without a prescription for women 18 years of age and older, as well as that a pregnancy test will no longer be required to access UPA EC.6

Health care providers rarely provide general information about EC during regular consultations or prescribe EC in advance of need. Health care providers do not require a pelvic exam or pregnancy test before prescribing LNG EC or UPA EC.

EC use

Ever use of EC EC use in the last 12 months % with no prescription Repeated use of EC in last 12 months
Estimate n/a 2.5 – 2.7%7 0.3%7 n/a
Year n/a 2009 2009 n/a



1 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. New York, 2013.

2 Durex Global Sex Survey Results 2005. Retrieved 20 June 2013, from

3 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Statistical Division Database. Mean Age of Women at Birth of First Child by Country and Year. Updated 23 November 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from

4 Eurostat. Total fertility rate, 1960-2011 (live births per woman). Retrieved 19 June 2013, from,_1960-2011_%28live_births_per_woman%29.png&filetimestamp=20130129121040.

5 United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. World Contraceptive Use 2012. New York, 2012.

Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco. Gazzette Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana. GU Serie Generale N. 105 del 8-5-2015. Determina 21 aprile 2015.

IMS Italy, 2009

Last update: November 2015