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Qlaira

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The Product Information was written and researched on 13/05/2021 . Find out more. See less.

What is Qlaira?

Qlaira is a combined contraceptive pill containing estradiol valerate and dienogest. The combined contraceptive pill is used to prevent pregnancy and can also be used for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding. When used correctly, Qlaira can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Qlaira works slightly differently from other combined contraceptive pills, with a four-phase dosing regimen that must be followed in the correct order. 

How to take Qlaira 

You should take one pill per day, every day, with a small glass of water if you need it. Try to take the pill at the same time every day. Each strip of Qlaira contains 26 coloured active tablets and 2 white placebo tablets. Take an active coloured tablet for the first 26 days, then an inactive white tablet for the last 2 days. The phases of your pills will trigger a withdrawal bleed - don’t worry, you’ll still be protected from pregnancy and you should carry on with your pills as normal. 

What if I miss a pill? 

If you’re less than 12 hours late in taking an active pill, your protection from pregnancy won’t be reduced. Take the tablet as soon as you remember and continue taking your tablets at the usual time. 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. 

What to do if you’re more than 12 hours late taking Qlaira will depend on where you are in your strip. Refer to the patient information leaflet for a flow chart detailing exactly what you should do depending on your situation.

If you are sick or have severe diarrhoea within 3-4 hours of taking Qlaira, 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 follow the instructions on what to do in the event of a missed pill. 

Starting Qlaira

The best way to start Qlaira for the first time is by taking your first pill on the first day of your next period. By doing this, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. If you begin taking Qlaira on a different day of your cycle, you should use a barrier contraceptive (like a condom) for the first 7 days of pill use. 

If you’re currently taking a different method of hormonal contraception and are changing to Qlaira, refer to the patient information leaflet for information on how to swap to your new contraception most effectively. 

How do dienogest and estradiol valerate prevent pregnancy?

Qlaira contains two female hormones to help protect against pregnancy: dienogest and estradiol valerate. These active substances work as a contraceptive by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg every month. It also thickens the mucus in the cervix (the neck of the womb) so it’s harder for sperm to reach an egg, and thins 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. This means there are three preventative measures in place, making it extremely unlikely for you to fall pregnant. 

Is Qlaira suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women?

You should not take Qlaira if you’re pregnant, or if you think you may be pregnant. You should speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist before taking Qlaira 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 Qlaira 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 Qlaira not be used? 

Qlaira is a contraceptive treatment for females only - do not take this medication if you are male. You should also not take this medication 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 other organs

  • You know you have a disorder affecting your blood clotting 

  • 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 could 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) liver disease and your liver function is still not normal

  • You have (or have ever had) a tumour in the liver 

  • You have (or have ever had) or if you are suspected of having breast cancer or cancer of the genital organs 

  • You have any unexplained bleeding from the vagina

  • You are allergic to estradiol valerate or dienogest, or any of the other ingredients of this medicine 

Speak to your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist for expert advice before taking Qlaira if: 

  • You have a close relative who has ever had breast cancer

  • You have a disease of the liver or gallbladder

  • You have jaundice

  • You have diabetes

  • You have depression

  • You have epilepsy

  • You have any disease that first appeared during pregnancy or earlier use of sex hormones

  • You have ever had chloasma (a discolouration of the skin, especially on the face or neck, known as ‘pregnancy patches’)

  • You have hereditary angioedema

  • You have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis 

  • You have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE - a disease affecting your natural defence system)

  • You have haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS - a disorder of blood clotting causing failure of the kidneys) 

  • You have sickle cell anaemia (an inherited disease of the red blood cells) 

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

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

  • You have just given birth

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

  • You have varicose veins

Are there any side effects?

Like all medicines, there is a possibility that you may experience side effects when taking Qlaira. If you experience any signs of severe side effects, such as an allergic reaction or a blood clot, seek medical attention immediately. Common side effects that may affect up to 1 in 10 people include: 

  • Headache

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nausea

  • Acne

  • Absence of periods

  • Painful periods

  • Irregular bleeding

  • Weight gain

  • Breast discomfort

For information about uncommon and 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 Qlaira and blood clots? 

Using a combined contraceptive pill like Qlaira 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 Qlaira?

You do need a prescription for Qlaira 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

Keep Qlaira in the original packaging out of sight and reach of children. 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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