Prevent pregnancy using Femodene, a combined oral contraceptive
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Femodene is a contraceptive pill that contains 2 active ingredients, gestodene and ethinylestradiol. Both ingredients work together to prevent pregnancy. You take one Femodene pill once a day for 21 days and then have a 7 day pill free break.
With Femodene ED, you take one pill each day for 28 days and it includes 7 inactive pills. The inactive pills contain 37mcg of lactose and 20mg of sucrose.
Each active pill of Femodene or Femodene ED contains 75mcg of gestodene and 30mcg of ethinylestradiol.
Femodene is a branded medication manufactured by Bayer.
Femodene - 6 x 21 tablet(s) - £28.00
Femodene - 3 x 21 tablet(s) - £20.00
Femodene ED - 6 x 28 tablets - £27.99
Femodene ED - 3 x 28 tablets - £18.99
Femodene is a combined contraceptive pill. A combined contraceptive medication contains both an oestrogen and progestogen. This is different to a progesterone only pill, also called the mini pill, but it’s just as effective.
The ingredients in Femodene mimic the hormones in your body to prevent ovulation. Ovulation happens each month when your ovaries release an egg, ready to be fertilised. By stopping ovulation, your chance of becoming pregnant is significantly reduced.
Keep in mind which type of Femodene you are taking:
- Femodene has 21 pills that you take once a day for 21 days with a 7 day pill free break
- Femodene ED has 28 pills that you take for 28 days including 7 placebo (inactive) pills
When taking Femodene or Femodene ED, you will have some withdrawal bleeding during your 7 day break or the 7 days that you take the inactive pills. This should be lighter and less painful than your normal period.
Remember that Femodene will not stop you from getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You should still use condoms when taking oral contraceptive pills to protect yourself from STIs.
If you take Femodene during the first 5 days of your period, you will be protected against pregnancy straight away. If you start taking Femodene at any other time of your cycle, you have to use extra contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days.
To take Femodene, follow the days of the week printed on the strip of pills.
- start on the day of the week it is and take 1 pill with a glass of water
- take the pill at the same time each day
- after you have finished taking 21 pills, take a 7 day pill free break
- after 7 days, start the next blister strip of 21 pills
You will still be protected against pregnancy during this 7 day break if you remember to start your next strip of pills on time. If you’ve taken Femodene every day, you will start the next strip on the same day of the week as the month before.
You might still be bleeding when you start your new strip. This is normal and should not stop you from taking your pill.
If you are taking Femodene ED:
- Peel off the sticker with the day of the week you have started taking the pill on
- Place this sticker on top of the strip so that the first pill is marked with ‘start’
- Take 1 pill every day for 28 days and follow the direction of the arrows, do not miss any pills
- Start a new pack straight away once you have finished your strip of 28 pills
What if I miss a pill?
If you forget to take your pill, there are a few steps you need to follow. If it has been
- less than 12 hours, take your pill straight away. You will still have contraceptive protection in this case.
- more than 12 hours, take the pill straight away even if this means taking 2 pills on the same day.
If you have missed more than 1 pill, take the most recent pill as soon as you remember. You will need to use another method of contraception, like condoms, for the next 7 days and may need emergency contraception if you’ve had sex during this time. If you come to the end of a strip of pills in these 7 days, start the next strip without having a 7 day break. If you are taking Femodene ED, throw away the inactive pills and start the next strip of active pills straight away.
Once you get to the end of the second strip of pills, you can have your pill free break as normal. If you do not bleed during this break, there’s a chance you might be pregnant. If this happens, do a pregnancy test or speak to your doctor.
If you miss a pill and are not sure what to do, you can speak to a pharmacist in any pharmacy or call a doctor.
Femodene works by keeping the level of female sex hormones in your body steady.
Your normal menstrual cycle is controlled by changing levels of hormones. By taking Femodene, you are taking a steady dose of oestrogen and progestogen. This puts a pause in your natural cycle and stops ovulation from happening.
Femodene contains synthetic (man made) versions of the natural hormones oestrogen (ethinylestradiol) and progesterone (gestodene). As well as stopping ovulation, Femodene prevents pregnancy by thickening the fluid in your cervix to stop sperm from entering.
Femodene can also thin the lining of the womb to make it harder for a fertilised egg to implant in your uterus.
These changes are completely reversible. When you stop taking Femodene or any type of oral contraceptive pill, there is a high chance that you will be able to get pregnant.
If you take Femodene on time and without missing any pills, Femodene is one of the most reliable and effective forms of contraception, preventing up to 99% of pregnancies.
But sometimes missed pills can happen. When we take into account missed pills or other irregularities, the effectiveness of Femodene is around 91%. This means less than 9 women out of 100 will get pregnant when taking Femodene with typical use.
Taking hormonal medication can cause side effects, including oral contraceptives like Femodene. These side effects will disappear with continued use and you should start to feel better after a couple of weeks.
Common side effects include:
- stomach ache
- weight gain
- mood swings
- depressive moods
- sore breasts
Uncommon side effects include:
- fluid retention
- loss of sex drive
- increase in breast size
- skin rash
Remember that if you vomit or have diarrhoea within 4 hours of taking a pill, your body may not have absorbed it. Follow missed pill advice if this is the case.
If your side effects are affecting your daily activities, you may need an alternative contraceptive pill. Speak to your doctor if you are unsure of what to do.
If you notice any signs of a blood clot, stop taking Femodene and contact 999 immediately.
These can include:
- unusual shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- pain or swelling in one leg
- sharp chest pain
- severe dizziness
- severe headache or migraine
For a full list of the side effects of Femodene, read the patient information leaflet.
You can take Femodene if you are a woman and want a convenient and simple method for contraception.
Femodene ED tablets are ideal if you feel you will forget to start a new strip of pills after your 7 day break. As Femodene ED contains 7 inactive pills, you will continue to take a pill every day. This helps you keep up the habit of pill taking so you will not miss any.
If you have any condition that means you’re unable to take products that contain oestrogen, Femodene might not be suitable for you. The mini pill, such as Cerelle, might be a better alternative for you.
Do not take Femodene if you:
- are pregnant
- are allergic to any of the ingredients in Femodene
- have ever had a blood clot
- have a blood clotting disorder
- have ever had a heart attack, stroke, angina (chest pain) or a transient ischemic attack
- have severe diabetes
- have high blood pressure (hypertension)
- have very high blood fat levels (cholesterol)
- have hyperhomocysteinemia
- have ever had migraine with aura
- have ever had breast cancer
- have ever had liver disease or liver tumours
If you are scheduled to have surgery and will be off your feet for some time, speak to your doctor or surgeon. Being immobile for a long time can increase your risk of blood clots. Your doctor may advise that you stop taking Femodene for a short while.
Speak to your doctor before taking Femodene if you:
- have recently given birth
- are breastfeeding
- smoke and are over 35 years old
- are overweight
- have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- have systemic lupus erythematosus
- have sickle cell anaemia
- have diabetes
- have varicose veins
- have migraines
- have a family history of heart problems
- have a family history of blood clotting problems
These conditions may increase your risk of having a blood clot if you take Femodene. Your doctor will be able to discuss with you whether taking Femodene or any combined contraceptive is suitable for you.
Certain medications can interact with the ingredients in Femodene. The effectiveness of Femodene can also be reduced by these medicines.
Tell your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications or products that you have bought from a pharmacy or health shop.
Some medications that interact with Femodene include:
- treatment for epilepsy, such as carbamazepine or phenytoin
- treatment for HIV or hepatitis C, including ritonavir or nevirapine
- antifungal medications such as griseofulvin or itraconazole
- certain antibiotics such as rifampicin
- the herbal remedy St John’s wort
For more information, read the patient information leaflet that comes with Femodene.
There are many alternative types of contraception to Femodene.
If you still want to use a combined hormonal contraceptive, you can consider:
- Microgynon, which contains ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel
- Yasmin, which contains ethinylestradiol and drospirenone
- Gedarel, which contains ethinylestradiol and desogestrel
The type of progestogen will change depending on the product. If you get side effects from one combined pill, you might find using another with a different progestogen or lower oestrogen is more suitable.
You might also consider a combined contraceptive patch, like Evra. Evra patches are left on for 7 days, which might be easier for you if you tend to forget to take pills.
If the combined pill is giving you side effects, you may consider taking the mini pill, such as Cerazette. With the mini pill, there is no oestrogen and you do not need to take a 7 day break.
Speaking to a doctor or visiting a sexual health clinic can help you decide which contraceptive pill is best for you.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 31 Jan 2022
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Femodene tablets, Summary of Product Characteristics, EMC [accessed Dec 2021]
Combined contraceptive pill, National Health Service [accessed Dec 2021]
Combined pill (COC), Sexwise [accessed Dec 2021]
Contraceptive pills are a reliable way of reducing your risk of getting pregnant from sex. ZAVA offers most common brands of pill, so you can order your preferred brand by visiting our contraceptive pill service page.