Is Femodene available over the counter?

Can you get Femodene without a prescription?


What is Femodene?

Femodene is a popular contraceptive pill. It is a type of pill known as a combined oral contraceptive (COC). This means that it contains synthetic versions of both oestrogen and progesterone. Other pills, commonly known as ‘mini-pills’, contain only progesterone. COCs like Femodene can be used to alleviate period pain, and to delay your period for a holiday or special occasion. Femodene is available in a pack that contains 21 pills, as well as 7 placebo pills. The placebo pills do not contain any active ingredient, and they are designed to be taken during the 7-day break between packs. Many women lose track of their pills during this 7-day break, so taking the placebo pills can help you to keep on top of your pills, so they can be as effective as possible. 

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Can you buy Femodene over the counter in the UK?

Femodene is not currently available over the counter in the UK. Contraceptive pills, like all medications, do carry some risks. For COCs, the main risks are blood clots and certain types of cancer. COCs do not directly cause these conditions, but they can increase your risk of getting blood clots and some cancers if you carry other risk factors, such as being a smoker, having a family history of these conditions or suffering from migraines. Therefore, it is important that you are assessed by a doctor before you start taking contraceptive pills. It is also recommended that you have regular pill checks every three months, so that your risk can be reassessed, to make sure that the pill will still be safe and effective for you. 


Alternative treatments

There is a wide range of different contraceptive pills available in the UK. The key differences are:

  • Combined oral contraceptives - As mentioned above, COCs contain both oestrogen and progesterone and can also be used to delay your periods.
  • Progesterone only pills (mini-pills) - These do not contain oestrogen. The pills contain different levels of progesterone, so it’s important that you take the right one each day. These pills are best for women who have risk factors for conditions more commonly associated with COCs, such as blood clots.
  • Every day pills - Usually, COCs are taken for 21 days, then you have a 1-week gap. During this time you don’t take any pills and this is when you will have your period. To help you keep track of your pills during this time, some COCs are available in ED (every day) packs. These pills contain placebos to help you stay in the habit of taking a pill every day. 
  • Low-oestrogen pills - Low-oestrogen pills contain lower levels of oestrogen than a standard COC. After taking COCs, some women experience oestrogen-related side effects such as mood swings and acne. These women may want to move onto a progesterone-only pill, but a low-oestrogen pill may be a better option, as progesterone-only pills can produce irregular periods and cannot be used for period delay. Taking a low-oestrogen pill should allow you to have all the benefits of a combined pill i.e. period delay, but should also alleviate oestrogen-related side effects.

If contraceptive pills don’t seem like the best option for you, there is a wide range of other contraceptives available including: 

  • Condoms, 
  • Femidoms, 
  • The diaphragm, 
  • Contraceptive injections (Depo-provera), 
  • Vaginal rings (NuvaRing), 
  • Contraceptive patches (Evra), 
  • The implant, 
  • The IUS (Mirena coil), 
  • The IUD (copper coil) etc. 

It is worth exploring all of these options, to find out what may work best for you and your partner.

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