Marvelon is a combined contraceptive pill that’s taken to avoid pregnancy.
There are two types: Marvelon (21 tablets per month) and Marvelon 28 (28 tablets per month). Both contain the same levels of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen.
Marvelon 28 has 7 pills that do not have any hormones in them, which you take instead of having a pill-free week. Some women find this helps so that they do not have to remember when to start the next strip of pills.
Zava stocks Marvelon 21 tablets in sets of 3 or 6 months.
- oestrogen: ethinyl estradiol (0.03mg)
- progesterone: desogestrel (0.15mg)
How to take Marvelon
- Take 1 pill every day for 21 days
- Do not take a pill for 7 days
- Start the next strip
- Take the 21 larger pills every day for 21 days
- Begin the 7 smaller pills and take for 7 days
- Go straight on to the next strip
How to order Marvelon online
- Fill in a quick questionnaire
- Place an order for either 3 or 6 months
- A Zava doctor will check the answers to make sure Marvelon is ok for you to use
- If it’s right for you, your order can be posted to your preferred address, or you can collect from a local post office
Side effects of Marvelon
Possible side effects include:
- stomach problems
- breast tenderness or increase in size
- mood changes such as symptoms of depression and anxiety, or lower sex drive (libido)
- changes in weight
- skin changes
- higher chance of blood clots (if you’re already more likely to have blood clots)
Who can order Marvelon?
At Zava, you can order Marvelon if you:
- are a woman over 18 years old
- have been taking Marvelon for 3 months with no problems
Natural hormones, like oestrogen and progesterone, are what your body uses to control your period. Combined contraceptives contain similar, lab-made hormones. These change your periods and help avoid pregnancy by:
- stopping an egg from being released every month from your ovaries (ovulation)
- blocking sperm by thickening the fluid around the entrance of your womb
- thinning the lining of the womb to help stop a fertilised egg attaching to it
- Each brand of the pill has different types and amounts of these two hormones. This does not change how effective they are, but it can affect how likely side effects will be, and how much your period or PMS symptoms change.
Marvelon, like all contraceptive pills, does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To avoid catching STIs, you’ll need extra protection, like condoms.
There are 2 types of Marvelon and you take them in slightly different ways.
For both types
- The days of the week are marked on the pack with arrows that show which pill to take next
- You take 1 pill once a day
- You should take the pill at roughly the same time each day. You could set an alarm on your phone to help with this
- Each pack should be started on the same day of the week as you started the one before
- Marvelon pills will put you on a regular 28-day cycle. The start dates for each packet will not be the same date of the next month, because months are between 28 and 31 days long
- The bleeding during your 7-day break can take 2 or 3 days to start after you finish the active tablets. It also might not have stopped before you take the next one. You should still take the tablets as planned, even if you’re still bleeding
- Marvelon is over 99% effective at avoiding pregnancy, but only when taken in the right way
For Marvelon 21
- Take 1 pill every day for 21 days
- When you’ve finished one strip of pills, do not take a pill for 7 days
- After the 7 days, start the next strip. It should be the same day of the week that you started the last strip on
For Marvelon 28
With Marvelon 28, there’s a strip of 21 ‘active pills’ with hormones in, and 7 smaller, ‘dummy pills’ without hormones. This adds up to 28 tablets – which is why it’s called Marvelon 28.
- Take the 21 larger pills every day for 21 days
- On the next day, begin the 7 smaller pills and take for 7 days
- After you finish the full strip go on to the next strip, and repeat
There are a number of reasons why Marvelon might not be right for you. This includes if you:
- are over 35 and you smoke
- have problems with blood clots or very high blood pressure
- have ‘migraines with aura’
- have problems with your liver
- are pregnant
- are allergic to any of the ingredients in Marvelon
A doctor can discuss a different contraceptive pill with you, if Marvelon might not be right for you.
A pill only counts as being missed if you take it more than 24 hours late. If it’s less than 24 hours, you just take it when you realise and carry on as normal.
If you miss a pill, what you need to do depends on a few things.
If you’re taking Marvelon 28 and you miss one of the smaller, ‘dummy pills’ you do not need to do anything. Take the next pill at the normal time
If you’re taking Marvelon 21, or you’re taking Marvelon 28 and you miss the bigger, hormone pills:
If you’ve missed 1 pill
- Take the missed pill as soon as you remember
- Take the next pill at your normal time of day, even if it means taking the missed one and the next one on the same day
- Your pill will still work, and you do not need to use extra protection
If you’ve missed 2 or more pills
- Use extra contraception, like a condom, for a week after you start your pills again
- Take the last pill that you missed as soon as you remember, even if it means taking 2 pills in one day
- Take the rest of the pills as normal
- If there are 7 or more pills left in the strip and you’re on Marvelon 21, or if there are 7 or more of the hormone pills for Marvelon 28, carry on as normal
- If there are fewer than 7 tablets, and you’re on Marvelon 21, do not have the 7-day break – start the next strip of pills straight away
- If you’re using Marvelon 28 and there are fewer than 7 hormone pills left, start a new strip instead of taking the dummy pills
- If you’ve missed 2 or more pills in your pack and you’ve also had unprotected sex, there’s a chance you could be pregnant. Talk to a doctor, nurse or pharmacist – you may want to take the morning after pill
You should always talk to a doctor about any medication you’re taking before you start using a contraceptive pill. It may not be right for you to take Marvelon if you’re also taking antibiotics, or medicine for:
- fungal infections
If you have any concerns about taking Marvelon it’s best to talk to a doctor about them.
In some cases, there’s a connection between the pill and cancer but it’s not straightforward. Studies have shown that the pill:
- lowers the chance of getting cancer of the ovary and womb if used for a long time
- possibly increases the chance of getting cancer of the cervix
- slightly increases the chance of getting breast cancer. This gets higher for women over 40
The chance of getting breast cancer when you’re on the pill is higher if you:
- have a close relative who has had breast cancer
- are overweight
If you notice any changes to your breasts while you’re on the pill, you should talk to a doctor as soon as you can.
You can report side effects or other concerns about medication to the Yellow Card Scheme.
What happens to acne when you take the pill depends on the pill you’re taking and the way your body reacts to it. For some people, being on Marvelon can improve acne. Others find that it gets worse.
Most people can take acne treatment as well as Marvelon but you should talk to your doctor about any medication you’re taking, or plan to take.
It’s also best to talk to your online doctor or GP if you experience acne as a side effect of taking Marvelon. Other versions of the pill have different levels of hormones so they might be a better fit for you.
The connections between weight gain and the pill are complicated. They also change depending on the pill you’re taking and the way your body responds to it. The hormones in the pill can affect your weight by changing:
- the way your body stores water, fat and muscle
- how quickly you process food (metabolism)
Gaining weight and losing weight can both be side effects of Marvelon.
If you gain weight, but don’t want to, you can try:
- eating less food overall, and choosing healthier options
- eating less salty or sugary food. This can help lower the amount of water your body stores
- exercising to boost your metabolism
If you lose weight, but don’t want to, you can try:
- eating more food, particularly fats and carbohydrates
- not doing too much heavy exercise
- having high-calorie shakes and snacks
Informed Health Online (2016). Which birth control pills can help reduce acne. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279209/ [accessed 2nd July 2019]
MedBroadcast (2019). Marvelon. MedBroadcast Inc. [online] Available at: https://www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/marvelon [accessed 2nd July 2019].
MSD (2019). Marvelon. EMC. [online] Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/1359/pil [accessed 2nd July 2019].
NHS (2019). Missed combined pill. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/miss-combined-pill/ [accessed 2nd July 2019].
NPS (2019). Marvelon 28 tablets. NPS Medwise. [online] Available at: https://www.nps.org.au/medical-info/medicine-finder/marvelon-28-tablets [accessed 2nd July 2019].
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.
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