Hana is a daily progestogen-only contraceptive pill that is available to buy without a prescription.
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Hana is the first contraceptive pill available that you can get without a prescription. Each pill contains the active ingredient desogestrel, a synthetic progestogen, and comes as a daily dose of 75 micrograms. Hana is a good contraceptive option for women who can’t take combined contraceptive pills.
When taken as prescribed, Hana is up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
84 tablet(s) / 75 mcg - £22.99
168 tablet(s) / 75 mcg - £39.99
Hana is a contraceptive pill you can take to prevent pregnancy. It is also known as a mini pill because it only contains desogestrel, a progesterone, which is a man-made type of female sex hormone. Other generic mini-pill contraceptives are available, but Hana is one of the first available in the UK without a prescription.
Hana is suitable for most women, including those who can’t take combined contraceptive pills. This can be due to things like having high blood pressure, being overweight, or being a smoker over 35.
Take one Hana pill every day at the same time, and do not take a break in between packs. It is recommended you combine taking Hana with another regular activity, such as brushing your teeth, so you don’t forget to take it. It is very important to take Hana at the same time every day if you want the best protection against pregnancy.
Can I start taking Hana at any time?
If you start taking Hana on days one to five of your period, it will be effective immediately. If you take it on any other day in your cycle, you should use condoms or another contraceptive barrier for the first 2 days.
Taking Hana after childbirth
You can begin taking Hana in the first 21 days following childbirth. If you start later than that, you should also use condoms for the first 2 days of taking Hana.
Changing to Hana from other contraception
If you are changing from another type of contraception, please consult the online package leaflet here. Section 3.2 gives details of how to start taking Hana when changing from all other contraception types, as well as after emergency contraception, after having a baby, or after having a miscarriage or abortion.
What happens if I miss a pill?
Missing tablets can make Hana less effective, so you will have a higher chance of becoming pregnant. Hana is most effective when you take it at the same time every day.
If you forget to take Hana at the normal time, you must take it within 12 hours for it to still be effective. Resuming taking further pills at the normal time, even if it means taking two pills in one day on the first day.
If you are over 12 hours late, leave any missed pills and immediately take the most recently missed one. Then continue taking Hana as normal. Use additional contraception for 2 days, such as condoms.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare recommends emergency contraception if one or more tablets are missed or taken more than 12 hours late, and unprotected sex has occurred before 2 further tablets have been correctly taken.
What if I am sick or have diarrhoea?
If you vomit within 2 hours of taking Hana, that counts as missing a pill. In this case, you should take another one. If you are not sick again, you can then resume taking Hana as normal.
If you are ill with frequent vomiting and/or, have diarrhoea, such as from food poisoning, continue to take your pill as normal, but use condoms throughout your illness and for 2 days afterwards.
Hana contains a synthetic female sex hormone, a progestogen called desogestrel. It works by changing the consistency of mucous in the cervix, which reduces the chances of sperm travelling up it and stops ovulation, so there is nothing for sperm to fertilise.
Hana is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if it is taken at the same time every day. Because it changes the consistency of mucous in the cervix and stops ovulation, it makes pregnancy highly unlikely.
Hana can be less effective if you:
- miss your pill
- take it at different times each day
- vomit and/or have diarrhoea
- use ulipristal acetate (emergency contraception, also known as ellaOne) at the same time
- use certain medications and herbal remedies at the same time (e.g., St John’s Wort)
Hana does not cause side effects for most people, but like any medicine, it can for some. If you experience side effects, speak to your doctor.
Common side effects, which affect approximately 1 in 10 people, include:
- amenorrhoea, where you stop having periods
- irregular menstruation
- altered or depressed mood
- decreased sex drive
- headaches and/or nausea
- breast tenderness
- mild weight gain (from fluid retention)
Changes to your period usually calm down after several months of using Hana.
Uncommon side effects, which affect approximately 1 in 100 people, include:
- vaginal infection
- dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
- difficulty wearing contact lenses
- ovarian cysts
- hair loss
For rare side effects, please refer to the package insert.
Hana can be taken by women and people with a uterus any time between their first ever period and when they reach menopause. Hana may not be suitable for some people, for instance, because of allergies. Read more below on possible reasons that could mean Hana is not suitable for you.
Reasons you may not be able to take Hana
Hana contains lactose (milk sugar). If you are allergic or intolerant to lactose, speak to a doctor before taking Hana.
Do not take Hana if you have:
- a type of cancer which is affected by sex-steroid hormones
- jaundice or severe liver disease, or a history of either of these unless your liver function has returned to normal
- acute porphyria
- vaginal bleeding, which is unexplained
- repeatedly experienced bleeding after sex
- an allergy to desogestrel or any other ingredients of Hana
You also must not take Hana if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
Other medicines and herbal remedies can interfere with Hana and stop it from working properly. They may cause contraceptive failure and/or unexpected bleeding.
- treatments for epilepsy, tuberculosis, HIV, fungal infections, or pulmonary arterial hypertension
- the herbal remedy St John’s Wort
If you are getting treatment for any of the above conditions, check the Hana package leaflet for the medicines you use and/or speak to your doctor about whether Hana is suitable for you.
If you already take Hana, speak to your doctor before starting any other medicines or herbal remedies. You may need to use an alternative method of contraception.
Will the Hana pill stop my period?
Some people get irregular bleeding in the first few months of taking Hana. This is not usually a cause for concern and is relatively common with desogestrel pills. However, if it continues beyond a few months, is particularly heavy or makes you worried, contact your doctor.
Hana can also affect your menstrual cycle by causing more frequent bleeding, or no bleeding at all. If you have issues with irregular bleeding, speak to a doctor before taking Hana.
Does Hana pill cause weight gain?
Yes, the Hana pill can cause mild weight gain as a side effect in some people, but this is thought to be because of mild fluid retention. However, this does not affect all people who take Hana.
Is Hana available over the counter?
Yes, Hana is one of the first contraceptive pills available over the counter in the UK.
Can I take Hana while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can. However, some people report decreased breast milk production whilst using Hana and other desogestrel contraceptives, and small quantities of desogestrel can pass into the breast milk.
Is Hana a safe contraceptive pill?
Hana is a safe contraceptive pill to use, however, it is important to check the patient leaflet thoroughly before taking it to ensure it is right for you.
Can I use Hana to delay my period?
No, progesterone-only pills like Hana cannot be used to delay your period.
Last reviewed: 05 Jan 2023
What is Hana?, Hana.co.uk [accessed December 2022]
Hana public assessment report, GOV.UK [accessed December 2022]
Hana 75 microgram film coated tablets, Summary of Product Characteristics, EMC [accessed December 2022]
Hana Package Leaflet, Hana.co.uk [accessed December 2022]
The progestogen-only pill, National Health Service [accessed December 2022]
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.