Stop worrying about unplanned pregnancy with Ovranette

Ovranette is a combined pill containing synthetic variants of oestrogen and progesterone. This pill effectively prevents pregnancy in 99% of cases if used correctly.

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Dr Samantha Miller

Reviewed by Dr Samantha Miller MB ChB
(2017, University of Glasgow)
GMC number: 7561464

Information last reviewed 27/02/2021


What is Ovranette?

Ovranette is a type of combined contraceptive pill. It is one of the most popular methods of preventing unwanted pregnancy. Commonly known as ‘the pill’, Ovranette contains synthetic versions of both progesterone and oestrogen, the sex hormones which are naturally produced by the body.

How does Ovranette work?

Ovranette works by overriding your menstrual cycle. It stops ovulation, so the ovaries don't release an egg each month, therefore fertilisation and pregnancy cannot occur. It also makes it harder for sperm to enter the womb by thickening the mucus surrounding the cervix and it thins the lining of the womb so that a fertilised egg cannot embed itself.

How effective is Ovranette?

Ovranette is over 99% effective if it is taken perfectly right. Forgetting to take it, combining it with certain types of medication or having sickness and diarrhoea can all impact the effectiveness of the pill, and in real-life, these things happen, giving Ovranette a real-life effectiveness of around 91%. 

When does Ovranette start to work?

Ovranette will start to work right away if you start taking it at the beginning of your cycle, on day one of your period. You can begin Ovranette at any time but you will need to use condoms, or your preferred barrier method of contraception, for the first seven days if you start it at any other time than day one. 

Other purposes for Ovranette

Ovranette can also be used to ease the symptoms of PMS and provide relief for women experiencing painful, heavy and irregular periods. The combined pill is sometimes given to treat acne but this may not prove effective for everyone.

Can you use Ovranette for period delay?

Like all types of the combined pill, Ovranette can be used to delay your period. To do this, skip the pill-free week between packs.


Active ingredients

The active ingredients contained in Ovranette are ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel.

Inactive ingredients

The other ingredients are lactose monohydrate, maize starch, povidone 25, magnesium stearate, talc, purified water, sucrose, polyethylene glycol 6000, calcium carbonate, white wax and wax carnauba.

Which ingredients can cause an allergic reaction?

You should refrain from using Ovranette if you have a hypersensitivity to any of the active or inactive ingredients in the medication. A severe allergic reaction to Ovranette and other birth control medications are rare but can present as difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, dizziness, a rash or facial swelling. Please contact your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you experience any of these symptoms after taking Ovranette.


Ovranette dosage

Each tablet contains 30 micrograms of ethinylestradiol and 150 micrograms of levonorgestrel. One tablet should be taken daily.

How to start Ovranette?

Choose a time of the day that’s suitable for you to take Ovranette. It's taken once a day at the same time each day for 21 days. Then you will wait seven days before starting the next pack which is when you will have a bleed, like a period.

How to take Ovranette?

Choose a time of the day which is suitable for you to take Ovranette. It's taken once a day at the same time each day for 21 days. Wait seven days before starting the next pack which is when you will have your period. 

What should I do if I missed a pill?

If it’s been less than 12 hours since you should have taken the pill, then simply take the missed pill, and your contraceptive cover won’t be affected. 

If it’s been over 12 hours since you should have taken the pill, contraceptive reliability may be reduced. Take the missed one as soon as you remember, even if this means you are taking two at once. Continue with the rest of your pills as scheduled. In addition, a back-up method such as condoms should be used for the next 7 days. If you are in the last 7 days of the pack when you miss a pill, continue onto the next pack without taking a break.

If you have missed two or more pills then you are at greater risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Take one of the missed pills right away and keep on taking the rest as normal. You will also need to use another form of contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days until Ovranette starts to work effectively again. If you have had unprotected sex around the time of missed pill(s), then you should speak to your local pharmacy or sexual health clinic as you may need emergency contraception.

What should I do if I took a pill too late?

Taking a combined pill, like Ovranette, later than usual will not impact your contraception, provided it’s taken within 12 hours of the scheduled time. Regularly taking your pill late can make it difficult to keep track of them and may increase your risk of pregnancy. 

If I have vomited, will Ovranette still work?

Ovranette may not work if you vomit within four hours of taking it, as your body may not have absorbed the hormones yet. In this case, take another pill as soon as you feel better and keep taking the rest of your pack as scheduled. This means that your cycle will be one day shorter than normal. If the vomiting continues, then you may not be protected against pregnancy. Use additional contraception until you have been symptom-free for seven days.

How to use Ovranette for period delay?

To use Ovranette for period delay, skip the pill-free week between packs and start the next one the day after you reach the end of your current one. This will delay your period for an additional three weeks. If you want to delay your period for any longer than this, you should consult your GP. 

Side Effects

Ovranette side effects

Before taking Ovranette, ensure that you read the information included with the pill about the increased risk of blood clots. This is rare but it is a possible health risk from taking the combined pill. Some side effects are more common right after you start taking the pill and disappear after the first month or two.

  • Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 women)
  • Breakthrough bleeding, unscheduled bleeding or spotting, particularly in the first couple of months
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pains or cramps
  • Weight changes
  • Mood changes including depression or low mood
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Changes in libido (sex drive)
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness, secretion or enlargement
  • Vaginal infections, including thrush

Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 women)

  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in appetite
  • Change in menstrual flow
  • Rash
  • Brown patches on your face or body (chloasma)
  • Hives (urticaria)
  • Fluid retention resulting in swollen ankles, hands or feet
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Changes in the fat (triglyceride) levels in your blood

Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1000 women)

  • Change in glucose tolerance
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses
  • Erythema nodosum (causes painful red lumps on skin)
  • Erythema multiforme (causes pink-red blotches on the skin)
  • Dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
  • Amenorrhoea (absence of periods)
  • Change in vaginal discharge
  • Blood clots such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), stroke or heart attack
  • Jaundice

Very rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 women)

  • Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Worsening of chorea
  • Worsening of systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Retinal vein thrombosis (Problems at the back of your eye which may cause partial or complete loss of vision)
  • Worsening of porphyria (a rare disease of the blood pigments)
  • Liver tumours
  • Breast cancer


Do not take Ovranette if you: 

  • Have ever experienced a blood clot 
  • Have, or have ever had, breast cancer 
  • Have had a baby in the last 6 weeks and are breastfeeding
  • Have ever had a heart attack or suffer from angina 
  • Have had a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA, mini-stroke)
  • Are a smoker over the age of 35
  • Have very high blood pressure 
  • Have a condition that predisposes you to blood clots
  • Have congenital heart disease
  • Experience migraines with aura (visual or sensory symptoms)
  • Have severe diabetes or diabetes with vascular complications
  • Have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) with positive (or unknown) antiphospholipid antibodies
  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients
  • Are pregnant
  • Have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Have a history of a liver tumour
  • Have any liver diseases where your liver function is abnormal

Speak to your doctor before taking Ovranette if you:

  • Have heart problems 
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have recently given birth
  • Smoke
  • Are over the age of 35
  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have hyperlipidaemia (high levels of fat in the blood)
  • Have gallbladder disease, including gallstones
  • Have had viral hepatitis
  • Are obese

Drug interactions

Certain medications interfere with the way Ovranette works. These include: 

  • HIV medications e.g. Ritonavir, Nevirapine
  • Hepatitis C medications 
  • Epilepsy medications e.g. Carbamazepine, Barbiturates, Primidone, Phenytoin, Topiramate, Oxcarbazepine
  • Antifungals e.g. Griseofulvin 
  • Antimicrobials e.g. Rifampicin, Rifabutin
  • Modafinil 
  • Anti-inflammatory agents Phenylbutazone, Dexamethasone
  • St John's wort

To be on the safe side, speak to your doctor if you‘re taking any medication, including alternative medicine, alongside Ovranette.

Ovranette and alcohol

Alcohol does not have an effect on Ovranette.

How to cope with Ovranette side effects?

Side effects are common when you first start taking Ovranette but these usually disappear in the first couple of months. If you experience headaches or abdominal discomfort then painkillers can help to ease this. Drink frequent sips of water if you get nauseous or sick to stay hydrated. Ensure you practice self-care if your mood is affected and take the time to relax, being aware of how you are feeling. If your mood changes start to become a problem, you should consider speaking to your doctor who may be able to find you a more suitable method of contraception.

Treatment Options

Switching contraceptive pill

Some women find that they need to try a few different types of the pill before finding the right one. If you are switching to Ovranette from another combined pill, simply stop taking one and start the other right away. Your protection will not be affected. If you are currently taking the progestogen-only pill (also known as the mini-pill) and get regular periods, then it’s best to wait until the first day of your period to begin Ovranette. If you do not get regular bleeds on the progestogen-only pill, it’s fine to switch at any time. Simply take your last progestogen-only pill one day, and start Ovranette the next day. When swapping from a progestogen-only pill, you should use additional precautions such as condoms for seven days

Ovranette vs the mini pill

The mini pill differs from Ovranette as it contains fewer hormones. While Ovranette is made up of both oestrogen and progestogen hormones, the mini-pill only contains progestogen. It is a suitable option for many women who cannot take the combined pill, including those over 35, those who smoke or those who have high blood pressure. The mini-pill may be preferable for women who experience adverse side effects on the combined pill. Unlike the combined pill, the mini-pill cannot be used to control your period and it needs to be taken every day throughout the month with no breaks.

Alternatives to Ovranette

Ovranette is one brand of the combined pill and there are many different types available. Microgynon, Rigevidon and Levest contain the same hormones as Ovranette and are commonly prescribed by GPs. All types of contraceptive pills are available from Dr Felix. The mini pill, also known as the progestogen-only pill, is an alternative with a lower dose of hormones and may produce fewer side effects. Long term methods of contraception include the implant, injection and hormonal and copper coil.


When can I get pregnant after taking Ovranette?

When you come off the pill it usually takes a couple of months for your body to adjust and your menstrual cycle to return to normal. However, it is possible to get pregnant right away. Everyone's body is different and there are many factors to consider to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. Visiting a family planning clinic can provide you with guidance and support before taking steps towards starting a family. 

How safe is long term use of Ovranette?

Ovranette is safe to use in the long term for women in good health. It is not suitable for everyone however and it poses a health risk to some people, for example, women at risk of blood clots, and those with high blood pressure or heart problems. If you are over 35 and smoke you may also be at risk. Your doctor will take your current health and medical history into consideration before issuing you with Ovranette. You will usually have your blood pressure taken once or twice a year too.

Will Ovranette stop my period?

Ovranette doesn't stop your period but it does replace it with an artificial cycle. Ovranette is taken for 21 days out of the month and then you have a seven-day break between packs. This is when you have your breakthrough bleed which resembles a period.

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