Marvelon pill contains ethinylestradiol and desogestrel making it an effective combined oral contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy.
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Marvelon contraceptive pill is a form of oral contraception that should be taken daily. It contains 2 hormones, so it is a combined pill sometimes known as ‘the pill’.
This combined contraceptive pill contains synthetic versions of oestrogen and progesterone that work to prevent pregnancy and control heavy or painful periods. It’s suitable for most women and is only available by prescription. You can buy Marvelon online from ZAVA. Our doctors prescribe treatment using a simple online questionnaire.
3 x 21 tablet(s) - £19.99
6 x 21 tablet(s) - £29.00
About Marvelon pill
Marvelon pill is a combined oral contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy and treat heavy or painful periods. It contains a synthetic version of 2 female reproductive hormones: oestrogen (30 mcg per pill) and progesterone (150 mcg per pill). Each Marvelon contraceptive pill contains 30 mcg of ethinylestradiol (a synthetic oestrogen) and 150 mcg of desogestrel (a synthetic progesterone).
What type of pill is Marvelon?
Marvelon pill is a combined oral contraceptive pill taken by women to prevent pregnancy. It contains 2 synthetic female sex hormones called ethinylestradiol and desogestrel. Marvelon pills are usually taken once a day for 21 days followed by a 7-day pill-free break.
Marvelon birth control pills are used to prevent pregnancy. They work in the same way as other combined pills, but the amount of hormones they contain may be different. Some research also shows that Marvelon could relieve the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
The 2 synthetic female sex hormones in the Marvelon pill, known as ethinylestradiol (contains 30mcg) and desogestrel (contains 150mcg), are the active ingredients that prevent pregnancy when taking this medication. Marvelon is a combined pill and these methods of contraception override your natural menstrual cycle.
Your ovaries release an egg each month during a process called ovulation. If this egg is fertilised, you’ll become pregnant. If it is not fertilised, the egg will be disposed of during your period to make room for a new one next month. The artificial hormones in combined pills stop your ovaries from releasing this egg every month, which prevents pregnancy.
The Marvelon contraceptive pill and other combined pills also increase the thickness of your mucus at the neck of the womb, which will make it more difficult for sperm to cross into the womb from the vagina. Marvelon also thins the lining of the womb (endometrium), which will make it more difficult for a fertilised egg to successfully implant itself and grow.
How long does it take for Marvelon to be effective?
If you take the Marvelon tablets on days 1 to 5 of your period, you should be immediately protected from pregnancy. If you start Marvelon pills after this or have a short or irregular menstrual cycle, you’ll need to use condoms for 7 days if you have sex.
Natural hormones, like oestrogen and progesterone, are what your body uses to control your period. Combined contraceptives, such as the Marvelon pill, 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 2 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.
When the Marvelon pill is taken perfectly, it will be over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that less than 1 in 100 people who use this form of contraception will get pregnant within 1 year. However, real-life data shows that around 8 in 100 people who use a combined pill like Marvelon will get pregnant. That means it’s more like 92% effective because of factors like forgetting to take it or incorrect use.
Some medicines can reduce Marvelon effectiveness. If you take any other medicines, you should discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist. Also, it’s important to remember that Marvelon does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What are the benefits of Marvelon pill?
Marvelon pill is effective at preventing pregnancy but it has other benefits, too. It contains more oestrogen than some other birth control pills.
The Marvelon pill can also be taken to help control the symptoms of heavy or painful periods. The combined pill can reduce the amount of bleeding you experience during your period because of its effects on the menstrual cycle. For some women, research shows that Marvelon may reduce the symptoms of PCOS.
The Marvelon pill also contains a combination of ethinylestradiol and desogestrel that has been shown to help improve the symptoms of acne.
You can buy the Marvelon contraceptive pill from registered online doctor services like ZAVA in the UK. If Marvelon is the right pill for you, the doctors at ZAVA will prescribe it for you and you will be able to have the pill delivered directly to your home. Before you buy Marvelon online you should make sure the service you are buying from is trusted and reputable. If they are, they will be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
It may be possible to get Marvelon pills on the NHS but it is not available without a prescription, so they cannot be bought over the counter.
How to buy Marvelon online?
Marvelon pills can be bought online from ZAVA. To buy Marvelon online, you should:
- fill out a short online medical questionnaire to tell us about your health
- one of our registered doctors will review your answers and let you know if the treatment is right for you
- once approved, your medicine will be delivered discreetly to your address or you can collect it from your local post office
You should take 1 Marvelon pill once a day with water. You can take the pill at any time of the day or night with a full or empty stomach. It’s best to try and take the pill around the same time each day to help you remember to take it.
The medication will come in strips of 21 tablets. Marvelon tablets are labelled with the day of the week to help you keep track of your daily dosage and to see if you’ve missed a dose.
Once you’ve taken all 21 Marvelon pills and reached the end of the strip, you will usually take a break from the medication for 7 days. During the 7-day break, you’ll most likely have a ‘withdrawal bleed’ which will be similar to your period. Once the 7 days are up, you should continue taking Marvelon and start a new strip. If you’ve been taking your Marvelon pills correctly before the break and start taking them again at the right time, you’ll be protected against pregnancy during the 7 pill-free days.
Some people prefer not to take a 7-day break. You can skip the 7-day break safely if you want to avoid having a breakthrough bleed for any reason (such as a special event or holiday). You can also take Marvelon pills regularly without a break or with a shorter break if you prefer. Speak to your doctor or message one of the ZAVA online doctors via your account if you would like more information about this.
When should I start taking Marvelon?
You can start taking Marvelon tablets at any time of your menstrual cycle, but if you want immediate protection from pregnancy, you should start the pill during the first 5 days of your period. If you start Marvelon at any other point in your menstrual cycle, you’ll have to use additional protection like condoms during sexual intercourse for the next 7 days as you will not be protected against pregnancy.
When is the best time to take Marvelon pills?
You can take Marvelon pills at any time of the day, but you should try to take them at the same time each day. Some people find it easier to take them when they are doing something else that’s part of their daily routine so they don’t miss a dose, such as brushing their teeth. You may also find it useful to set a daily alarm on your phone if you think you may forget to take a Marvelon pill.
Marvelon missed pill: What if I miss a pill?
If you miss 1 Marvelon pill, you should take the missed pill as soon as you remember. It’s safe to take 2 Marvelon pills in one day if you remember your missed dose when your next dose is due. This should keep you protected from pregnancy. After this, you continue taking the pill as normal. If you miss more than 1 pill then you might not be covered, depending on where in the pack you are. Check the patient information leaflet, or ask a doctor if you are not sure.
What if I throw up after taking the pill?
If you’re sick or have diarrhoea within 3 to 4 hours of taking your pill, the hormones may not have been absorbed fully, so you should treat this the same as missing a pill.
Most women will experience little to no side effects when taking Marvelon. However, the hormonal changes that the combined pill causes can have side effects in some women, especially during the first 3 months of starting this treatment.
Some contraceptive pill side effects are seen as positive and may be one of the reasons the medication is prescribed to an individual. For example, the hormones in combined contraceptive pills can help acne by reducing sebum production. The pill can also regulate your body’s hormones, which can help with heavy or painful periods.
What are the most common side effects of Marvelon?
Some of the most common side effects of Marvelon affecting up to 1 in 10 people include:
- breast tenderness
- low mood and mood swings
- nausea or stomach pain
- mild temporary weight gain
Some uncommon side effects that can affect up to 1 in 100 people include:
- larger breasts
- low libido
- migraines (seek medical attention if severe)
- sickness or diarrhoea
- swollen hands, feet or ankles
Some rare side effects that may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people include:
- a milky fluid secreted from the nipples
- bruise-like swelling to the shins (erythema nodosum)
- eye discomfort for those who wear contact lenses
- harmful blood clots
- increase in libido
- irregular bleeding or changes in vaginal secretions
- skin eruption with a lesion (erythema multiforme)
- weight loss
For very rare Marvelon pill side effects, refer to the package insert.
If you have any common side effects and they do not seem to go away after 3 months or get worse over time, then you should speak to a medical professional. You should also contact your doctor if you think you’re having side effects that are out of the ordinary, that are not listed above, or that are listed above and are worrying you.
The Marvelon pill contains a synthetic type of progesterone called desogestrel which may cause side effects in some women.
Desogestrel pill side effects include:
- breast abnormalities
- low or depressed mood
- loss of sex drive (libido)
- feeling sick (nausea)
- weight gain
- skin reactions
The main ingredients of Marvelon tablets are the active substances ethinylestradiol and desogestrel.
Each Marvelon tablet contains 150 micrograms of desogestrel and 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol.
The other Marvelon ingredients are:
- potato starch
- stearic acid
Marvelon pills will be suitable for many people. However, as this medication contains hormones, you’ll have to discuss your situation and suitability with a doctor or pharmacist before you can start taking the combined pill.
You should tell a medical professional when requesting a prescription for Marvelon birth control if:
- you’re over 35 years old and you smoke
- you’re over 35 years old and you quit smoking less than a year ago
- you’re very overweight
- you suspect or know you’re pregnant and/or breastfeeding
- you take other medication
- you have or you’ve had blood clots
- you have had a stroke
- you have a heart abnormality
- you suffer from migraines
- you have or have had breast or cervical cancer
- you have or have had a disease of the liver or gallbladder
- you have or have had diabetes
You must disclose any of the above information with your doctor or pharmacist due to some of the risks associated with taking Marvelon. The Marvelon pill can increase your risk of blood clots, which can lead to deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, a heart attack, or a stroke. It can also slightly increase your risk of developing breast or cervical cancer.
Some medications can interact with the Marvelon pill, which can reduce its effectiveness. If you take other medicines or herbal products, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist when requesting Marvelon. This also applies to any medication that is prescribed while you’re taking a combined oral contraceptive.
Medicines that can interact with Marvelon include:
- medicines that treat epilepsy (primidone, phenobarbital, phenytoin, fosphenytoin, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, and barbiturates)
- medicines that treat tuberculosis (TB) like rifampicin and rifabutin
- HIV treatment (ritonavir, efavirenz and nevirapine)
- Hepatitis C treatment (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir)
- blood pressure treatment (warfarin)
- herbal remedies that contain St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to recommend another method of contraception if you take any of the medicines listed above or any other medication that could interact with the combined pill.
Marvelon will not be suitable for everyone, whether it’s due to the side effects, your age, or your medical history. You may need to find an alternative treatment. Fortunately, there are many types of contraceptives on offer to prevent pregnancy.
A Marvelon alternative includes other types of combined pills such as:
If a combined pill isn't suitable for you, there are also a number of mini pills (progesterone-only pills) such as:
No, but they are similar. The table below shows their similarities and differences.
Marvelon vs Mercilon
Although they contain the same active ingredients, Mercilon contains a lower dose of ethinylestradiol than Marvelon. That means Mercilon may lower the risk of experiencing oestrogen-related side effects.
Marvelon Mercilon Type of pill
- 30 mcg ethinylestradiol
- 150 mcg desogestrel
- 20 mcg ethinylestradiol
- 150 mcg desogestrel
The Lowdown users have rated Marvelon as 3.2 out of 5 stars. The reviews contain accounts of how women felt while taking Marvelon as well as any side effects they may have experienced.
On Drugs.com the combination of ethinylestradiol and desogestrel, the active ingredients used in the Marvelon pill, is rated as 5.3 out of 10.
Over 3,800 people have reviewed ZAVA on Trustpilot. Overall, they have given the service we provide an average rating of 4.4 stars. 79% of reviewers awarded ZAVA 5 stars.
Marvelon pill is an effective standard-dose combined oral contraceptive method used to prevent pregnancy. Because it contains a standard dose of oestrogen, it comes with a higher risk of experiencing side effects compared to low-oestrogen pills. But, it is also more likely to improve conditions like PMS and acne than low-dose pills. Whether you buy Marvelon online or get it from your doctor, they will make sure it is suitable for you to take, or discuss alternative options with you if necessary.
Frequently asked questions
Can Marvelon increase your chances of a blood clot?
There is a small risk of blood clots if you take Marvelon pills. The oestrogen present in combined pills does increase your risk of developing a blood clot in a vein or artery compared with not taking the pill. However, the risk is small.
There are certain medical conditions which may increase your personal risk, however. So, it is important to discuss your medical history with your doctor when they are prescribing the pill to you.
Is Marvelon an emergency pill?
Is Marvelon pill good for acne?
The combination of ethinylestradiol and desogestrel found in Marvelon pills may help to lower sebum production on your skin which may improve acne symptoms.
What is the difference between Marvelon 21 and 28?
Marvelon 21 and Marvelon 28 are examples of combined oral contraceptive pills that contain 150 mcg of desogestrel and 30 mcg of ethinylestradiol. However, Marvelon 21 contains 21 active pills, taken once per day for 21 days followed by a 7-day pill-free break, whereas Marvelon 28 contains 21 active pills and 7 placebo pills.
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: 17 Oct 2023
Desogestrel (2023) NICE [accessed 22 September 2023]
Effects of Diane-35 and Marvelon in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized, controlled trial ( 2016) Cochrane Library [accessed 22 September 2023]
Marvelon patient information leaflet (2023) emc [accessed 22 September 2023]
Mercilon - a new low-dose combined oral contraceptive (1989) BMJ [accessed 22 September 2023]
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.
In stock. Prices from £19.99