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Femodette (Combined Pill)

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Checked for Accuracy by James O'Loan . CEO & Prescribing Pharmacist . on 20/09/2021

What is Femodette? 

Femodette is a combined contraceptive pill containing the active ingredients gestodene and ethinylestradiol. These are synthetic versions of the natural female sex hormones progestogen and oestrogen, which work to prevent pregnancy in three different ways. This makes the combined contraceptive pill one of the most reliable reversible methods of contraception available.  

How to take Femodette 

Femodette comes in strips of 21 pills, each marked with a day of the week to make it easy and convenient for you to keep track. You should swallow one pill whole each day, with water if necessary. It doesn’t matter whether you take your pill with or without food. 

After you’ve taken all 21 pills in the strip, you should take a 7-day break from taking the pills. During this time, you’ll experience a withdrawal bleed similar to a period. You will need to start your next strip of 21 pills once the 7-day break has finished, even if you are still bleeding.

What should I do if I miss a pill? 

If you’re less than 12 hours late in taking a pill, the protection from pregnancy won’t be reduced. If you’re more than 12 hours late, you will have to use a barrier method of contraception. The more pills you miss, the greater your risk of becoming pregnant. If you’re more than 12 hours late taking a missed pill, continue taking your pills as usual until you reach the end of the strip. If you come to the end of your strip within the next 7 days, skip the 7-day break and go straight onto the next strip, taking the break as normal once you’ve finished all 21 pills.

If you are sick or have severe diarrhoea within 3-4 hours of taking Femodette, your body may not have absorbed the active substances in the pill. If you can’t manage to take a spare pill within 12 hours of vomiting or having severe diarrhoea, you should refer to the patient information leaflet and follow the instructions on what to do in the event of a missed pill. 

Starting Femodette

When taking Femodette for the first time, either as your first contraceptive or after a break from other contraceptives, you should take your first pill on the first day of your period. This way, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. If you start taking Femodette on a different day, you will have to use a barrier method of contraception for the first 7 days of taking the pills. If you’re changing from a different type of hormonal contraception, such as another contraceptive pill or an implant, refer to the patient information leaflet about how to switch to Femodette. 

How do gestodene and ethinylestradiol prevent pregnancy?

Femodette contains two synthetic female hormones to help protect against pregnancy: gestodene and ethinylestradiol. These active substances work as a contraceptive by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg every month. These hormones also work by thickening the mucus in the cervix (the neck of the womb) so it’s harder for sperm to reach an egg, and thinning the lining of the womb so there’s less chance of a fertilised egg being able to implant itself into the womb and start growing.

Is Femodette suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

You must not take Femodette if you’re pregnant, or think you may be pregnant. You should speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking Femodette if you’re breastfeeding, to make sure it’s right for you and your baby. 

Can the pill be used to treat acne? 

Some doctors will prescribe a combined contraceptive pill to women who suffer from hormonal acne, as there does seem to be a beneficial effect on acne-prone skin. That doesn’t mean Femodette is specifically an acne treatment, but it could definitely help. Do be aware though, it can take around 2-3 months of taking a combined pill before you may notice any effect on your acne and it could come back once you stop taking the pill. 

When should Femodette not be used? 

Femodette is a contraceptive treatment for females only - do not take this medication if you are male. Whilst reliable and suitable for many women, Femodette should not be taken if: 

  • You have (or have ever had) a blood clot in a blood vessel of your legs (deep vein thrombosis - DVT), your lungs (pulmonary embolism - PE) or any other organs. 

  • You have a disorder affecting your blood clotting - for instance, protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency, antithrombin-III deficiency, Factor V Leiden or antiphospholipid antibodies

  • You need an operation or if you are off your feet for a long time

  • You have ever had a heart attack or a stroke

  • You have (or have ever had) angina pectoris, a condition that causes severe chest pain and may be the first sign of a heart attack, or transient ischaemic attack (TIA - temporary stroke symptoms) 

  • You have severe diabetes with blood vessel damage

  • You have very high blood pressure

  • You have a very high level of fat in the blood (cholesterol or triglycerides) 

  • You have a condition known as hyperhomocysteinaemia 

  • You have (or have ever had) a type of migraine called ‘migraine with aura’ 

  • You have (or have ever had) breast cancer

  • You have ever had a severe liver disease and you have been told by your doctor that your liver function test results are not yet back to normal

  • You have ever had liver tumours

  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in this medicine 

Some conditions can be affected or made worse by taking Femodette. Speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist for expert advice before taking this medicine if: 

  • You have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis 

  • You have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)

  • You have haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)

  • You have sickle cell anaemia

  • You have inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) 

  • You have elevated levels of fat in the blood (hypertriglyceridaemia) or a positive family history for this condition

  • You need an operation, or you are off your feet for a long time

  • You have just given birth 

  • You have an inflammation in the veins under the skin (superficial thrombophlebitis)

  • You have varicose veins

  • You have diabetes

  • You or your close family have ever had problems with your heart or circulation such as high blood pressure

  • You or your close family have ever had problems with blood clotting

  • You have the inherited disease called porphyria

  • You are overweight or obese

  • You have migraines

  • You have any illness that worsened during pregnancy or previous use of the pill

Are there any side effects?

Like all medicines, there is a possibility that you may experience side effects when taking Femodette. These should usually be mild, and not everyone will experience them. Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any signs of severe side effects such as an allergic reaction, blood clot, breast cancer, cervical cancer or severe liver problems. For information on severe side effects and their symptoms, refer to the patient information leaflet. Less serious side effects include: 

  • Feeling sick

  • Stomach ache

  • Weight gain

  • Headaches

  • Depressive moods 

  • Mood swings

  • Sore or painful breasts

  • Stomach upset or being sick

  • Fluid retention

  • Migraine

  • Low sex drive

  • Breast enlargement

  • Skin rash, which may be itchy

For information about rare side effects, refer to the patient information leaflet. If you experience any side effects, including any not included in the patient information leaflet, you can report them using the MHRA Yellow Card Scheme

What is the link between Femodette and blood clots? 

Using a combined contraceptive pill like Femodette can increase your risk of developing a blood clot. Whilst still rare, the risk is highest during the first year of taking the pill, and you should be aware of the symptoms. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms: 

  • Throbbing or cramping pain, swelling, redness and warmth in your leg or arm

  • Sudden breathlessness, sharp chest pain and a cough or coughing up blood 

For further information on the link between the combined contraceptive pill and blood clots, as well as more symptoms to look out for, refer to the patient information leaflet. 

Can the pill increase the risk of breast cancer?

Breast cancer has been found slightly more often in women who take a contraceptive pill compared to women who don’t. Once you stop taking the pill, the risk gradually decreases and 10 years after stopping the pill the risk will be the same as someone who has never taken a contraceptive pill. Breast cancer is still rare for anyone under the age of 40, even in women who take the pill.

Do I need a prescription for Femodette?

You do need a prescription for Femodette in the UK. Our healthcare professionals can provide prescriptions if they think this treatment would be right for you and your condition. When you click the button which reads “Start Consultation” at the top of this page, you’ll see a short questionnaire set up by our healthcare team which is designed to help them understand your medical needs. Just like an in-person consultation with your GP, our doctors will assess your answers to their questions and write a prescription for the treatment they think will be best for you. You’ll then be able to pay for your medication and we’ll send it out to you quickly and in discreet packaging.

Storage information

Store below 25°C in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight. Keep Femodette in the original packaging. Do not use this medicine after the expiry date printed on the packaging, referring to the last day of the stated month.

 

Important information

This product is a medicine; make sure to speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking this product if you have an underlying medical problem or are taking any other medicine or complementary therapy. If your symptoms get worse or continue after taking this product, contact us or your doctor. For medical services in your area, please refer to https://www.nhs.uk

If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, speak to your doctor or our pharmacist before taking this product. If you suffer from any allergies, ask your doctor or our pharmacist if this medicine is right for you.

Store all medicines out of sight and reach of children.

Please read the included leaflet carefully before using this product.

Please contact your GP if appropriate regarding this product.


Helpful Advice on Medication Restrictions & Addiction

For further information on our medication restrictions policy, please click here.

If you are concerned about addiction to 'over the counter' medication, we urge you to visit the below links for professional help and advice:

NHS Help & Advice on Drug Addiction

Talk To Frank - Drug Addiction Help & Support

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