Oral contraception

Oral contraception or 'the pill' is taken daily to prevent pregnancy and is free on the NHS. Almost half of all women take oral contraception - there are two types; the progestogen only pill and the combined pill - both contain hormones.

Your options

Progestogen only pill

The progestogen only pill (POP) is taken daily - read more about how POP works, its benefits, side effects and risks.

Before prescribing a 3 month supply of desogestrel (84 pills), we will ask you some questions about your health - a clinician will review your answers to ensure we prescribe safely.

You may know POP as Aizea, Cerazette, Cerelle and Nacrez, but their ingredients are largely the same and they work in a very similar way.

The most common reason why people are unable to take POP is:

  • taking enzyme inducing drugs (for epilepsy etc.)

We prescribe Desogestrel (75 micrograms) often called Feanolla, produced by Lupin UK; full ingredients can be found here.

Combined pill

The combined pill (COC) is taken daily - read more about how the combined pill works, its benefits, side effects and risks.

Before prescribing a 3 month supply of ethinyoestradiol, levonorgestrel (63 pills), we will ask you a number of questions including if you smoke, your blood pressure, your weight and height - a clinician will review your answers to ensure we prescribe safely.

You may know the combined pill as Microgynon, Rigevidon, Yasmin and Loestrin 30, but their ingredients are largely the same and they work in a very similar way.

The three most common reasons why people are unable to take COC are:

  • suffering from migraines with aura (changes to your vision and/or pins and needles or numbness, before, during or after the headache begins)
  • having high blood pressure
  • a family history of blood clots.

We prescribe Levonorgestrel / Ethinylestradiol (150 micrograms) often called Levest, produced by Morningside Pharmaceuticals; full ingredients can be found here.

Other types of contraception

There are many types of contraception, so you can choose the right method for your lifestyle. Don't be put off if the first type you use isn't quite right - you can try another.

Ordering from SH:24

We will ask you a number of health questions to assess your suitability for oral contraception - these are exactly the same questions that you would be asked by your GP or at a sexual health clinic. If you have any queries or need help when ordering, a clinician will be available to advise you.

Discreet, tamper proof, unmarked envelope - contraception package

Once the SH:24 clinician has approved your prescription, we guarantee that you will receive your oral contraception the next working day. SH:24 provide the same oral contraception as NHS clinics and pharmacies. We will send it in discreet packaging by 1st class Royal Mail. You will not have to be in or sign for the package - it will fit through your letter box.

Questions?

There are two types of oral contraception, read more about both types in our contraception section. If you are already taking oral contraception and want to know what type it is, click on these links to see if you can recognise the name or box of your combined pill or progestogen only pill. If you would like some advice on what pill might be most suitable for you, you can talk to us by text (07860 041 233).

Temporary side effects such as headaches, spotty skin, nausea, breast tenderness, spotting and mood swings can occur but these often improve over time.

  • when taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, in the longer term there could be a small increased risk of some serious health conditions, such as thrombosis (blood clots) and breast cancer or cervical cancer. These risks reduce with time after stopping the pill.
  • when taking the progestogen only pill, periods may be irregular, lighter, heavier or more frequent or may stop altogether.
  • Progestogen only pill: If you start your pill in the first five days of your cycle then it will be effective immediately. If you start your pill at any other time on your cycle then you should use additional protection for 48 hours.
  • Combined oral contraceptive pill: This depends on when in your cycle you start taking it. If you start within the first five days of your menstrual cycle then it will be effective immediately. If you start after the first five days of your cycle then the combined pill will not be effective for 7 days. If you are switching from one method of contraception to another then you should talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233) about using additional contraception.

Yes, in our contraception section you are able to filter contraceptive options which may help you find out more about options to suit your lifestyle. There is a page for each of the 14 types of contraception, that tells you the benefits, how it works, why it works, side effects and Questions. You can also talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233).

  • common names for the combined pill include: Microgynon, Rigevidon, Yasmin, Cerazette and Loestrin 30.
  • common names for the progestogen only pill include: Aizea, Cerazette, Cerelle and Nacrez.

If you don’t know the name of the pill you have taken, but think you might be able to recognise the packet, follow these links to find it and see whether it is a combined pill or progestogen only pill (POP).

Alternatively, you can talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233) who will be able to help.

This is up to you. There are benefits and considerations for both oral contraception and longer lasting options. In our contraception section you can filter contraceptive options to help you find out more about the options that best suit you and your lifestyle.

If you are concerned about taking oral contraception over a long period of time, you may want to know that the benefits of long term use of the pill usually outweigh the risks. There are some reports that suggest there may be a very small increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer, but the pill does help protect against other types of cancers such as ovarian, colon and uterine cancers. There is no evidence to suggest the pill causes infertility. Most women who have had regular periods will find that their normal cycle will return within six months. Some women find that their usual cycles begin again very quickly after stopping, but for others it can take longer.

You can talk to our SH:24 clinician by text (07860 041 233) to find out more.

To order the combined oral contraceptive pill, you will need to provide your blood pressure.

To get your blood pressure checked you can:

Find out how to take your own blood pressure reading here.

When you first order from SH:24 we will prescribe a three month supply. This gives you time to see how oral contraception suits you. If you choose to repeat order, we can prescribe a 12 month supply of POP or a six month supply of the combined oral contraceptive pill, once you answer some questions about your health for us to review.

Yes, once you have ordered oral contraception from SH:24, you can text (07860 041 233).

We will send it in discreet packaging by 1st class Royal Mail. You will not have to be in or sign for the package - it will fit through your letter box.

Discreet, tamper proof, unmarked envelope - contraception package

We will track your order and will text you when your order has been dispatched and when it has been delivered to your address.

You can text (07860 041 233).

SH:24’s clinician will review your answers and sign your prescription.

If one or more of the following applies to you, we would strongly recommend that you visit a local clinic or speak to a clinician as soon as you can:

  • if you have been sexually assaulted
  • if you have any symptoms of infection
  • if you have had unprotected sex in the last five days and think you are at risk of being pregnant
  • if you have had unprotected sex in the last three days and think you may have been exposed to HIV (you can receive post exposure medication at clinics)
  • if you are under the age of 16.

Otherwise you can order a free STI test from us to complete at home.

Always ensure you tell your doctor that you are taking oral contraceptive pills. Taking the combined pill it not advised if the surgery means you will be immobile for an extended period of time, this is because the combined pill can cause an increased risk of blood clots.

Tablet core:

Active ingredients:

  • Desogestrel

Inactive ingredients:

  • Lactose monohydrate
  • Allrac
  • Tocopherol (E307)
  • Povidone K30
  • Silica colloidal anhydrous
  • Talc
  • Maize starch
  • Stearic acid
  • Magnesium stearate (E470b)

Tablet coating:

  • Hypromellose (HPMC2910, E464)
  • Titanium dioxide (E171)
  • Macrogol 400 (PEG 400)

This type of progestogen only pill is often called Feanolla.

Front of Feanolla box

More information can be found here.

Tablet core:

Active ingredients:

  • Levonorgestrel
  • Ethinylestradiol

Inactive ingredients:

  • Lactose Monohydrate
  • Maize Starch
  • Talc
  • Povidone K-25
  • Magnesium Stearate

Tablet coating:

  • Sucrose
  • Talc
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Povidone K-90
  • Glycerol
  • Macrogol 6000
  • Titanium dioxide (E171)
  • Carnauba Wax

This type of combined pill is often called Levest.

Front of Levest box