Microgynon 30 is a combined oral contraceptive pill, which is up to 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy when taken properly. It contains 2 hormones, ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel, which work by stopping ovulation and making the lining of the womb thicker. This can stop you from becoming pregnant because it’s less likely that an egg will be fertilised.
Microgynon 30 can also reduce your period pain and help with heavy menstrual bleeding and PMS. It can also help if you have acne or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
The Microgynon pill is manufactured by Bayer plc.
Microgynon 30 (3 x 21 tablets) - £14.00
Microgynon 30 (6 x 21 tablets) - £19.00
Microgynon ED (3 x 28 tablets) - £14.00
Microgynon ED (6 x 28 tablets) - £19.00
About Microgynon Pill
Microgynon 30 is a contraceptive pill, and like all other combined pills, it is a prescription-only medication. As it’s a combined pill, Microgynon 30 contains both oestrogen and progesterone. It is over 99% effective as long as it’s taken properly – every day at the same time.
The Microgynon contraceptive pill only protects against pregnancy, not sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). In order to stay protected from STIs, it’s important to use extra protection like condoms. Condoms can also improve your protection against pregnancy, making it even less likely than with the pill alone.
As a contraceptive pill, Microgynon 30 is used to prevent unwanted pregnancies when you’re sexually active. To achieve this effect it contains the hormones ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel. Due to this combination and dosage, Microgynon 30 can also have other benefits, for example:
- relieving symptoms connected to premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- helping with problems around your period (by making it less painful, lighter and more regular)
Microgynon helps prevent unwanted pregnancies by making it harder for a sperm to reach the egg. It does this by:
- making the mucus at the opening of the womb thicker
- stopping eggs from being released from the ovaries
- making it harder for an egg to attach to the lining of the womb if it’s reached by a sperm
These are all processes that happen naturally in your body when you’re pregnant. The hormones in Microgynon trick your body into thinking it’s pregnant when it’s not.
When Microgynon starts working will depend on where you are in your menstrual cycle.
If you start taking Microgynon 30 on the first day of your cycle (the first day of your period) up until day 5, it will work straight away. This means you are protected from pregnancy immediately as long as you do not have an irregular or short menstrual cycle.
If you start using Microgynon 30 after the first day of your cycle and have a short or irregular cycle, you should use an extra kind of contraception like condoms for a week after starting it. After 7 days, you will be protected from pregnancy.
If you start using Microgynon after the 5th day of your menstrual cycle, regardless of the length of your cycle, it will take 7 days to work. Use another form of contraception during this time if you have sex.
The Microgynon pill, like all combined pills, is around 99% effective, but only when taken correctly. If you miss pills or do not take Microgynon at the same time each day, it may become less effective. You should set a reminder on your phone or leave your tablets beside your bed to take every morning. Also, try to make sure you never run out of pills by ordering a new prescription at least a few weeks before you are due to run out.
Other things can make your pill more effective, such as:
- losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight
- avoiding herbal supplements that can interact with the pill, such as St John's wort
- using an extra form of contraception, like condoms
In order to buy Microgynon online you can use an online doctor service likeZAVA. After filling out a short medical questionnaire, one of our doctors will tell you if using Microgynon as a contraceptive method is suitable for you. If it is, you can either get your prescription to take to a pharmacy or buy Microgynon and have it sent to your home.
Take Microgynon 30 exactly as directed by your doctor – this means every day, at the same time, with no late or missed pills.
Depending on whether your course consists of 21 or 28 tablets and what pill regime you have discussed with your healthcare provider, you may or may not need to take up to a maximum 7-day break between packs.
If you’re not already using contraception, you can start Microgynon right away. Remember, depending on where you are in your period cycle, you might not be protected right away and may need to use extra protection for 7 days. See the section above on ‘How long does Microgynon take to work?’ for more details.
If you’re switching from another combined pill, as long as you finish your old pack of pills and start your new one the very next day, you’ll stay protected from pregnancy. If there are any gaps, or you’ve missed any pills recently, you’ll need to use extra protection for the first week. Also, if you have only been on your previous pill for one week or less, you’ll need the 7 days of extra protection too.
If you’re switching from a mini pill, finish your old pack first and then start your Microgynon. You’ll need to use extra protection for 7 days unless the mini pill you were using contained desogestrel (Cerelle or Cerazette).
If you have missed just one pill, you are still protected against pregnancy. You now need to:
- take your Microgynon missed pill straight away, even if you have to take 2 pills in a day
- carry on taking Microgynon as normal
- take your seven-day pill-free break if you normally take one
If you have unprotected sex, you do not need another form of contraception for preventing pregnancy.
If you miss more than one pill, the effectiveness of Microgynon will decrease. This depends on how many pills you have missed.
If you miss more than one pill from your week 1 pack, or you start your week 1 pack more than a day late:
- speak to your nurse or doctor about emergency contraception if you’ve had sex
- take the last pill that you missed and leave any other missed pills
- use another form of contraception for 7 days if you have sex
- take the rest of your Microgynon pills as normal, ignoring the missed pills
If you miss more than one pill from your week 2 pack:
- take the last pill you missed and leave any other missed pills
- you will not need to get emergency contraception if you have had sex
- you will need to use another form of contraception for 7 days if you have sex
- take the rest of your Microgynon pills as normal, ignoring the missed pills
If you miss more than one pill from your week 3 pack:
- take the last pill you missed and leave any other missed pills
- you will not need to get emergency contraception if you have had sex
- if you take a 21-pill pack, take the rest of your pills and start a new pack the next day, without a break
- if you take 28 pills a month, only take the active pills (the first 21 pills in your pack), then start a new pack the next day
Missing your pill-free break means you may not have a withdrawal bleed.
If you miss more than 7 days of your pill, you will need to use another form of protection for 7 days. You are also at risk of being pregnant and may need emergency contraception.
If you miss a pill but are too late to take it before your next dose is due, you should still take both pills. This is safe, even if you take 2 pills in a day. You don’t need extra protection as long as you only miss one pill.
If you’re over 24 hours late, as in you’ve missed more than one pill, it’s more complicated. See the section above ‘What should I do if I’ve missed more than one pill?’ – you may need to use extra protection for a week.
If you vomit (be sick) within 3 hours of taking Microgynon, it may not have been fully absorbed and will not be effective. Take another pill and continue your treatment as normal. If you continue to vomit, wait until you are feeling better to take your pill again.
Once you are feeling better, use another form of contraception for 7 days, just like you were starting the pill for the first time.
It’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about stopping Microgynon. They can give you helpful advice and suggest alternatives.
Once you’ve decided to come off Microgynon, you can stop taking it whenever you want to. You do not need to wean yourself off it or wait until your pill-free break. You won’t get withdrawal from stopping.
When you stop taking Microgynon, you will no longer be protected from pregnancy. You may get irregular periods for a few months until your body readjusts. Also, any side effects you’ve been having from Microgynon will go away, along with any positives like improvements to acne.
If you’re on Microgynon ED (every day), the tablets that you take during the fourth week of your pack will be placebos. This means they don’t contain any hormones, they’re just to help you keep track. The idea is you’re still taking pills during the 7-day break, so you don’t have to plan when to start taking pills again.
Some people find it helpful to take a tablet daily because they worry about forgetting to restart the pill after the 7-day break. Missing pills can increase your risk of getting pregnant, so it’s important you don’t forget.
The Microgynon contraceptive pill can have some side effects, and these are most likely to happen within the first few months of treatment. Once your body adjusts to the new medication regime, most side effects should settle down. If you get any side effects that bother you a lot or are not going away, speak to your doctor.
Common side effects of Microgynon that affect up to 10% of people include:
- stomach ache
- nausea (feeling sick)
- temporary weight gain
- sore or painful breasts
- a change in mood, such as mood swings
- bleeding or spotting between periods (this usually goes away within a few months)
Uncommon side effects that affect up to 1% of people of Microgynon include:
- water retention
- vomiting (being sick)
- a change in libido (sex drive)
- breasts getting bigger
- a skin rash, which can be itchy
Rare side effects that affect up to 0.1% of people of Microgynon include:
- eye irritation when wearing contact lenses
- weight loss
- an increased libido (sex drive)
- discharge from your vagina or breasts
For other side effects and very rare side effects, check the patient information leaflet included in your Micrgynon 30-pill packet.
Once you’ve gone more than 24 hours without taking Microgynon, you’ll no longer be protected from pregnancy. Also, when coming off Microgynon, any side effects you were getting from your Microgynon should clear up. You’ll also lose any extra benefits, like improvements to periods or acne.
Microgynon won’t cause withdrawal symptoms when you stop, but you might find symptoms of premenstrual syndrome get worse if they were improved by Microgynon while taking it.
Each tablet contains the active ingredients progestogen (levonorgestrel) and oestrogen (ethinylestradiol). Microgynon 30 ingredients also includes lactose and sucrose, which may not be suitable if you have an intolerance to some sugars.
The other ingredients in the tablets are:
- maize starch
- magnesium stearate (E572)
- macrogol 6000
- calcium carbonate (E170)
- glycol montanate
- titanium dioxide (E171)
- glycerin (E422)
- ferric oxide pigment yellow (E172)
You should not use Microgynon 30 if you:
- have, or have ever had, a blood clot anywhere in your body
- have ever had severe liver disease and your liver function is not back to normal levels
- have a disorder which affects blood clotting, such as protein S deficiency
- are waiting to have an operation
- have ever had liver tumours
- are going to be off your feet for a while, as this can increase the risk of getting a blood clot
- have ever had a stroke or heart attack
- are allergic to any ingredient in Microgynon 30
- have, or have ever had, angina (a condition that causes severe chest pains)
- have severe diabetes and blood vessel damage
- have high blood pressure (hypertension)
- have been diagnosed with hepatitis C and are taking medications for it
- have a very high blood fat level, such as very high cholesterol
- have hyperhomocysteinaemia
- have, or have ever had, migraines with an aura
- have, or have ever had, breast cancer
- are pregnant or breastfeeding
Microgynon is designed to prevent pregnancy and should not be taken if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
If you are breastfeeding, you should not use Microgynon until 6 weeks after you gave birth. This is because the oestrogen in Microgynon can be dangerous for your baby since it can come through in your breast milk. If you need contraception in the meantime, your midwife or doctor can suggest another form of contraception for you to try.
Microgynon can interact with other medications, making it less effective or unsafe. Speak to your doctor if you use any medication, especially:
- medications used to treat epilepsy
- St John’s wort, a herbal remedy
- medications used to treat hepatitis C and HIV
- certain antibiotics
- an antifungal medication called griseofulvin
- certain sedatives called barbiturates
There are no food or drinks that interact with Microgynon 30. But remember that if you end up throwing up or getting diarrhoea from food or drinking too much alcohol, you can lose your protection.
There is a range of alternative types of contraceptive pills available if Microgynon is not suitable for you. These include other combined pills or progestogen-only pills. You can also choose to use non-hormonal contraception.
Choosing the right contraception method can be difficult as there are so many choices. If you are not sure which contraceptive is best for you, speak to one of our doctors through your online account at any time for free.
➤ Check out our page on types of contraception for more information to help you make your choice.
Frequently asked questions
Why are there blister packs with 21 and 28 pills?
Blister packs with 21 pills contain the amount of Microgynon you need to take in a month, with a 7-day pill-free break.
The blister pack with 28 pills contains 7 placebo pills. These pills don’t have any medication in them, so it’s just like taking a 7-day break. You may want to use this to remember to take your pill every day. This can be helpful if you forget when to start taking your pills after your break.
Is Microgynon a combined pill?
Yes, Microgynon is a combined pill. This means it contains a combination of 2 hormones, oestrogen and progesterone. Having both of these hormones means it gives some extra benefits and comes with a different risk of side effects compared to progesterone-only mini pills.
Is Microgynon the same as Levest?
They aren’t exactly the same. Microgynon and Levest do contain the same active ingredients (levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol) in the same amounts. They are both taken the same way and work in the same way to prevent pregnancy.
The main difference is the manufacturers. Microgynon is made by Bayer plc, and Levest is made by Morningside Healthcare Ltd. The active ingredients are the same, but the other ingredients in Microgynon and Levest are different. For example, Microgynon contains a yellow colouring agent, and Levest contains carnauba wax.
Is Rigevidon the same as Microgynon?
Levest, Rigevidon and Microgynon aren’t exactly the same. However, Microgynon contraceptive pills do contain the same active ingredients as Rigevidon in the same dosages.
The main differences are that Microgynon is made by Bayer plc, and Rigevidon is made by Gedeon Richter. This means they’re manufactured differently with different non-active ingredients.
Can you get Microgynon on the NHS?
Yes, you can get Microgynon on the NHS through a sexual health clinic or your GP.
Can you buy Microgynon 30 over the counter?
No, you cannot order Microgynon without a prescription. But you can get some mini pills over-the-counter, like Hana and Lovima.
Does Microgynon stop periods?
It can, but not always. Microgynon is taken for 21 days with a pill-free break. This usually causes a breakthrough bleed and is like a period. Microgynon can be used to regulate your periods.
Some women who take Microgynon notice that their periods are lighter, they do not always bleed during their break, or their periods stop altogether.
You can take Microgynon to stop periods altogether by taking your pill packets back-to-back. Speak to your doctor if you want to use your pill this way.
Does Microgynon cause weight gain?
There is no evidence that Microgynon can cause weight gain, but if it does, it is usually only temporary due to water retention. Since it’s a temporary side effect, your weight should go back to normal if you stop taking Microgynon. But, if your weight gain is not a side effect of Microgynon, then it won’t drop once you stop your contraception, and you might need to consider a weight loss programme.
Does Microgynon cause hair loss?
Any form of hormonal birth control could trigger hair loss, but this is rare. This kind of hair loss is usually temporary and should improve when you stop taking the pill. If you are already experiencing hair loss, the pill could make this worse.
Does Microgynon help with acne?
Combined pills such as Microgynon 30 have been shown to help with acne for some people. This is due to the active ingredients which can regulate androgen levels and reduce the amount of sebum you produce.
Sebum is an oily substance that can protect and hydrate your skin. In people with acne, too much sebum is produced, causing hair follicles in the skin to become blocked, forming spots.
It may take 6 to 12 weeks to see an improvement in your acne if you take Microgynon. It takes time for your body to adjust to the hormones in the pill, and during this time, your acne could be worse. If your acne doesn’t improve after using Microgynon for several months, speak to your doctor.
Can Microgynon cause depression or anxiety?
Microgynon contains synthetic hormones that can affect your mood, especially in the first couple of months of taking it. This can cause depression or anxiety or worsen them. These side effects should get better as your body gets used to the treatment.
Speak to your doctor straight away if you get depression or anxiety when taking Microgynon and it is impacting your daily life.
Can Microgynon cause thrush?
While Microgynon cannot cause thrush directly, it can increase the risk of getting thrush. This is because it changes your natural hormone levels allowing the bacteria that cause thrush to grow and multiply. If you keep getting thrush whilst taking Microgynon, speak to your doctor.
Does Microgynon affect fertility?
Microgynon does not affect fertility long-term but will prevent you from getting pregnant whilst taking it. If you want to start trying for a baby, it may also take a few months (up to 1 year) for your menstrual cycle to go back to normal once you stop taking the pill.
Does Microgynon increase your risk of blood clots (thrombosis)?
Microgynon and other combined pills can increase your risk of blood clots but the risk is very low. Your doctor will make sure Microgynon is safe and suitable for you before taking it, and they won’t prescribe it if you’re over 35 and you smoke.
If you are worried about the risk of blood clots, you can use the mini pill instead. Since it doesn’t contain oestrogen, the risk of blood clots doesn’t apply.
Does Microgynon increase my risk of cancer?
Microgynon and other combined pills can slightly increase your risk of some types of cancer, compared to people who do not take it. When you stop taking the pill, your risk will slowly decrease until you are no longer affected.
Taking the combined pill can lower the risk of both womb and ovarian cancer. In most cases, the benefits outweigh the risks. Your doctor will check your family history to see whether the combined pill is suitable for you.
Can you use Microgynon for period delay?
If you already take Microgynon, you can use it to delay your period. You can do this by taking 2 pill packets back to back rather than taking a break. If you use the 28-pill pack, skip the inactive pills and go straight to taking your next pill pack. Speak to your doctor before doing this to make sure it is safe for you.
Since it delays your period, some people take it just for this and not for the protection against pregnancy.
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 Aug 2023
EMC (2022). Microgynon 30 tablets: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/1130/pil, [accessed August 2023]
NHS (2019). Which method of contraception suits me?: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/which-method-suits-me/?tabname=methods-of-contraception, [accessed August 2023]
NHS (2019). What should I do if I miss a pill (combined pill)?: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/miss-combined-pill/, [accessed August 2023]
NHS (2020). Combined pill: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/combined-contraceptive-pill/, [accessed August 2023]
NICE (2023). Ethinylestradiol with levonorgestrel: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drugs/ethinylestradiol-with-levonorgestrel/, [accessed August 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.
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