Just a few questions from our Pharmacist before you checkout to make sure this medicine is safe for you.
What is the Levest pill?
The Levest pill is a combined contraceptive pill that’s very effective in preventing pregnancy. Just one pill a day is all you need to conveniently protect yourself from becoming pregnant, making it a simple and popular choice of hormonal contraception. As well as providing contraception, Levest can also help to regulate your periods, ease heavy or painful periods, and help to reduce the symptoms of PMS, such as painful cramping.
How to use this birth control pill
Levest pills come in a strip of 21 pills marked with the days of the week. Take one pill at the same time every day for 21 days, using the days on the packaging to help you keep track. When you’ve finished your 21 days you will have a 7-day pill-free period, which is when you will experience a period-like bleed. You should start your next strip of 21 pills when your 7 days are over, even if you haven’t stopped bleeding. If you follow these instructions carefully you will be protected from pregnancy as effectively as possible.
What should I do if I miss a pill?
If you forget to take a pill on time then your protection against pregnancy may be lessened, but this depends on when you remember to take your pill and how many pills are left in your pack. You should follow these instructions carefully:
- If it’s less than 12 hours since you should have taken your pill you should take your next one right away, even if it means taking 2 pills in one day. Your protection will not be reduced
- If it’s been more than 12 hours since you should have taken your pill or if you have missed more than one pill you should take the most recently missed pill straight away. Take your next pills as usual, even if that means taking 2 pills in one day. Your protection may be reduced, so we’d recommend using an extra method of contraception, such as a condom, for the next 7 days. What you should do next will depend on how many pills are left in your pack
- If you have 7 or more pills left in your pack you should continue taking your pills as usual, remembering to use an extra method of contraception for the next week. When you’ve finished your strip, take your 7 pill-free days as usual and then start a new strip. If you do not bleed during your 7-day break then you may be pregnant and should speak to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist right away
- If you have fewer than 7 pills left in your pack you should finish your strip of pills as usual and then start another strip right away without a 7-day break. If you do not bleed during the 7-day break you take after finishing your second strip then you may be pregnant and should speak to your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist right away
How effective is the combined pill?
When you use it correctly, the combined pill is over 99% effective and protecting you from pregnancy. This means you’ll need to take one pill at the same time every day for 21 days and then start another strip of pills after a 7-day break to get the most out of this contraception. When this is done correctly, fewer than 1 in 100 women who use the combined pill will get pregnant within a year, and of course, these odds will only improve if you also use a barrier contraceptive like a condom during sex.
How does the Levest pill work?
Levest is known as a combined pill because it uses two hormones which work together to help prevent pregnancy; levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol. These hormones help to prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, and of course, if an egg isn’t released then it can’t be fertilised and cause pregnancy. To add an extra level of protection, the combined pill also thickens the mucus in your cervix and thins your womb lining. This makes it more difficult for sperm to swim into the womb and come into contact with an egg and also makes it much more difficult for any fertilised eggs to implant into the womb lining and start a pregnancy. All of this combined makes pregnancy very unlikely and is what makes this type of pill over 99% effective.
Will the combined pill help with my acne?
Combined pills like Levest are not designed to be an acne treatment, but they can help to reduce breakouts simply by including hormones. Hormonal changes are known to be a trigger for acne breakouts, which is why acne is common in teenagers and pregnant women and can flare up during your menstrual cycle. As this is a hormonal treatment, many people find that their acne improves when they’re on the pill, and this benefit is often a factor when people are choosing their contraception.
Can I take this product alongside my other medication?
If you’re taking any other medication, including herbal remedies and medicines you obtained without a prescription, you should tell your doctor about them during your first consultation. Some medications can interact when used together, and your doctor will be able to assess whether Levest will be the right treatment for you, considering what you already take day to day. This especially applies if you are already taking:
- Medications used to treat epilepsy
- Medications used to treat HIV or Hepatitis C. You should not take Levest if you are already taking ombitasvir, paritaprenir, ritonavir, dasabuvir, glecaprevir, pibrentasvir, sofosbuvir, velpatasvir, or voxilaprevir
- Griseofulvin, which is used to treat fungal infections
- Some sedatives (barbiturates)
- St John’s Wort, which is a herbal remedy
Can I take this birth control pill if I’m breastfeeding?
You should not take Levest if you’re breastfeeding, even if you used it for contraception before your pregnancy. If you’re concerned about falling pregnant again while you’re breastfeeding you should ask your doctor for their advice about contraceptive options you can use at this time. We’d recommend using a barrier method of contraception, like a condom, to make sure you’re protected from pregnancy until you’ve spoken with your doctor.
Does this contraceptive pill cause weight loss or weight gain?
Weight gain is listed as a common side effect of the Levest contraceptive pill, with up to 1 in 10 women experiencing it. Weight loss is listed as a rare side effect, affecting up to 1 in 1,000 people. This essentially means that the way this pill will affect weight will differ from person to person, and it may not cause any weight changes at all. It’s also important to note that weight loss or gain may not be caused by the pill at all, but can be caused by other factors, like your diet, how much you exercise, and your lifestyle. If you’re at all concerned about your weight or think the pill may be the cause of any kind of side effect, we’d recommend speaking to your doctor and asking for their advice.
When should this pill not be used?
The Levest pill is not suitable for use in young girls who have not started menstruating. This should only be taken by those who were assigned female at birth, if you are a transgender person who is unsure about whether a contraceptive pill would be right for you, you should speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare specialist. Do not take this product if you are allergic to ethinylestradiol, levonorgestrel, or any of the other listed ingredients. You should not take this contraceptive pill if you have:
- Or have ever had a blood clot in your legs (DVT), lungs (PE), or other organs
- A disorder that affects blood clotting, e.g. protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency, antithrombin-III deficiency, Factor V Leiden or antiphospholipid antibodies
- Need an operation or are going to be off your feet for a long time (e.g. during a long plane journey), due to the risk of blood clots
- Ever had a heart attack or stroke
- Or have ever had angina pectoris (which causes severe chest pain) or a transient ischaemic attack or TIA (which causes temporary stroke-like symptoms)
- Any diseases which could increase the risk of blood clots in your arteries, e.g. severe diabetes with blood vessel damage, very high blood pressure, a very high level of fat in your blood, hyperhomocysteinaemia
- Or have ever had a migraine with an aura
- Or have ever had breast cancer
- Or have ever had severe liver disease and have been told that your liver function test results are not back to normal
- Or have ever had liver tumours
- Hepatitis C and are using any of the following medications; ombitasvir, paritaprenir, ritonavir, dasabuvir, glecaprevir, pibrentasvir, sofosbuvir, velpatasvir, voxilaprevir
Tell your doctor during your initial consultation if you have:
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- Haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS)
- Sickle cell anaemia
- Elevated levels of fat in your blood, or if this condition runs in your family
- Need an operation or will be off your feet for an extended period time
- Just given birth
- Inflammation in the veins under the skin
- Varicose veins
- Heart or circulation problems, such as high blood pressure, or if this runs in your family
- Problems with blood clotting or if this runs in your family
- Porphyria, which is an inherited disease
- Obesity, or if you’re overweight
- Any illness which got worse when you were pregnant or used hormonal treatments like the pill before
- Symptoms of angioedema, e.g. swelling of the face, tongue, mouth, or throat, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hives. These symptoms will need immediate medical attention
- An intolerance to some sugars, as this product contains lactose and sucrose
Does Levest have any side effects?
Like all medications, Levest can have side effects, although not everyone will experience them. If you experience any of the following severe side effects you should seek immediate medical attention:
- Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, e.g. difficulty breathing or swallowing, hives, swelling of the face, tongue, mouth, or throat
- Signs of a blood clot in your veins or arteries, e.g. DVT (deep vein thrombosis), PE (pulmonary embolism), retinol vein thrombosis (a blood clot in your eye), heart attack, stroke, mini-stroke, temporary stroke-like symptoms (TIA), blood clots in the liver, stomach or intestines, kidneys, or eyes
- Signs of breast cancer, e.g. dimpled skin, changes to your nipple, any lumps you can see or feel
- Signs of cervical cancer, e.g. vaginal discharge which smells, blood in your vaginal discharge, unusual vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, pain during sex
- Symptoms of severe liver problems, e.g. yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice), severe pain in your upper abdomen, inflammation of your liver (hepatitis), itching all over your body
- Other common side effects of this product include:
- Feeling sick
- Stomach ache
- Weight gain
- Depressive moods or mood swings
- Tender breasts
For a complete list of potential side effects of this product, please see the patient information leaflet included with your medication. If you experience these or any other side effects you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist. For more information about reporting the side effects of medications, please see the MHRA’s Yellow Card Scheme.
Do I need a prescription for Levest?
You do need a prescription for Levest 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.
How to store this product
Store in a cool, dry place which is below 25 degrees C. Do not take this product if the expiry date printed on the original packaging has passed. Keep out of sight and reach of children.
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:
- Ethinylestradiol, Levonorgestrel
The active substances are levonorgestrel (150mcg) and ethinylestradiol (30mcg).
The other ingredients are lactose monohydrate, maize starch, povidone k-25, sucrose, talc, calcium carbonate, povidone k-90, glycerin, macrogol 6000, titanium dioxide, magnesium stearate and carnauba wax.
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