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Qlaira Combined Contraceptive Pill
Up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, Qlaira is a combined oral contraceptive pill that contains the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. It can also be prescribed for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding. Each pack contains 28 tablets, which are taken every day without a break.
Qlaira is available to purchase online from The Independent Pharmacy by completing a short online assessment. Once your medical information has been reviewed, your medication can be delivered to you the next working day.
What are Qlaira Tablets?
Qlaira is a relatively new type of contraceptive pill that contains the ingredients estradiol valerate and dienogest — synthetic forms of oestrogen and progesterone. The hormone doses vary across the cycle, meaning women who take Qlaira typically have shorter and less intense periods than those who take monophasic combined pills. When taken every day without a break, Qlaira tablets are up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
The primary features and benefits of the Qlaira pill:
- It’s a combined contraceptive pill that contains oestrogen and progesterone in varying doses.
- It’s up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken daily.
- It can also be taken for heavy menstrual bleeding, as it reduces the length and intensity of periods.
- It’s available to buy online from The Independent Pharmacy when you complete an online consultation.
What type of pill is Qlaira?
Qlaira is known as a combined contraceptive pill, which means it contains artificial forms of two naturally occurring female hormones: oestrogen and progesterone. However, unlike some contraceptive pills, not every Qlaira pill contains the same amount of oestrogen and progesterone — there are 4 different hormone doses over the 28-day cycle, making it a ‘quadriphasic’ contraceptive pill.
Can you buy Qlaira in the UK?
Qlaira is a prescription-only medication, which means it’s not available over-the-counter in the UK. However, you can purchase Qlaira from a registered online pharmacy such as The Independent Pharmacy. You’ll just need to complete an online consultation so a medical expert can determine whether Qlaira is a safe and suitable contraceptive treatment for you.
How do Qlaira Tablets work?
Qlaira Tablets combine two active ingredients called estradiol valerate and dienogest (man-made versions of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone). Together, these hormones work to help prevent pregnancy in the following ways:
- Preventing ovulation by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg.
- Making the lining of the womb thinner to make it difficult for a fertilised egg to implant in the womb.
- Making the mucus in the cervix thicker to prevent sperm from entering the womb.
How long do Qlaira tablets take to work?
If you start taking Qlaira on the first day of your next period cycle, you’ll be protected against pregnancy straight away. However, if you start taking it on another day (or you’ve changed to Qlaira from another contraceptive pill), it may take longer to work. You should consult your doctor in this case, and use an additional method of contraception for at least the first 9 days of taking Qlaira.
How effective are Qlaira tablets?
Providing you take Qlaira correctly (ensuring you take the correct pill on the correct day), Qlaira is proven to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, the effectiveness of the Qlaira pill will be reduced if you regularly miss doses, vomit, have diarrhoea, or take other medications that may impact its effectiveness. In these cases, it will be around 91% effective at preventing pregnancy.
There are many different types of contraceptive pills, and you should discuss your options with your doctor or healthcare provider thoroughly to ensure you find the right solution for you and your body.
Qlaira is a combined contraceptive pill, which means it contains both oestrogen and progesterone. This is the most common type of contraceptive pill, and is suitable for most women.
Other combined contraceptive pills include:
If you are unable to take oestrogen (for example, because you have high blood pressure or are overweight), Qlaira will not be suitable for you. In this case, you are recommended to take a progestogen-only pill (POP), also known as the ‘mini-pill’.
Progestogen-only contraceptive pills include:
If you are unable to take oral contraception at all, or you prefer not to, there are other methods of contraception you can consider. These include:
- Male and female condoms.
- A contraceptive patch.
- A contraceptive injection.
- A contraceptive implant.
- An intrauterine device (known as the ‘coil’).
- A diaphragm or cap.
In the event of a contraception failure, the emergency contraception method known as the morning-after pill can be taken up to 5 days after sex in order to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception should only be used where absolutely necessary, and should not be used as a regular method of contraception.
For more information, check out our guide to the different types of female contraception.
Qlaira Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.6536.pdf
How to take Qlaira tablets
Each pack of Qlaira contains 28 tablets, which are to be taken over a period of 28 days. There are 26 coloured pills (which contain active hormones) to be taken on days 1 through 26, and 2 white pills (without hormones) to be taken on days 27 and 28.
You should take one pill every day for 28 days and start the new pack of another 28 pills the next day without a break. Take each pill with water (with or without food) on the day it is marked with, preferably at the same time every day.
You will usually have a withdrawal bleed during the last 2 or 3 days (around days 26 to 28). You should begin your new pack of 28 pills even if you are still experiencing withdrawal bleeding.
The active ingredient(s) in Qlaira tablets are: estradiol valerate, or estradiol valerate combined with dienogest:
- 2 dark yellow tablets each containing 3 mg estradiol valerate
- 5 medium red tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 2 mg dienogest
- 17 light yellow tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 3 mg dienogest
- 2 dark red tablets each containing 1mg estradiol valerate
Other ingredients in the coloured active tablets are:
Tablet core: lactose monohydrate, maize starch, pregelatinised maize starch, povidone K25
(E1201), magnesium stearate (E572)
Tablet film-coating: hypromellose type 2910 (E464), macrogol 6000, talc (E553b), titanium
dioxide (E171), iron oxide yellow (E172) and/or iron oxide red (E172)
Other ingredients in the white inactive tablets are:
Tablet core: lactose monohydrate, maize starch, povidone K25 (E1201), magnesium stearate
Tablet film-coating: hypromellose type 2910 (E464), talc (E553b), titanium dioxide (E171)
Qlaira side effects
As with any medication, it’s possible that some users of Qlaira may experience side effects, though the majority of people will not experience any adverse effects.
Common side effects of Qlaira (affecting between 1 and 10 in every 100 users) include:
- Abdominal pain
- A lack of periods, painful periods, or irregular or heavy bleeding
- Weight gain
Uncommon side effects of Qlaira (affecting between 1 and 10 in every 1,000 users) include:
- Fungal infections, including of the vulva and vagina
- An increased appetite
- Depression and mood swings
- Problems sleeping
- A reduced sex drive
- Hot flushes
- High blood pressure
- Hair loss
- Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
- Skin rash
- Muscle cramps
- Painful intercourse
- Vaginal discharge
- Fatigue and irritability
- Swelling of parts of the body, such as the ankles (oedema)
- Weight loss
More severe side effects have been documented — including blot clots — but these are extremely rare. For more information on blood clots or any other possible side effects, refer to the Patient Information Leaflet or speak to your doctor.
Does Qlaira make you lose weight?
It’s very rare to experience weight loss from taking Qlaira tablets. Weight loss is one of Qlaira’s uncommon side effects, which typically impact between 1 and 10 in every 10,000 users. In fact, weight gain is one of the more common side effects of taking Qlaira, potentially affecting between 1 and 10 in every 100 users. Most people who take Qlaira do not experience any changes in weight.
Does Qlaira cause mood swings?
While some people who use Qlaira may experience mood swings or bouts of depression, this is uncommon. These are some of the rarer side effects of taking Qlaira tablets, which are thought to affect between 1 and 10 in every 1,000 users. The vast majority of people who take Qlaira do not experience any changes in mood as a result of the medication.
You should speak to your doctor before beginning treatment to ensure the Qlaira contraceptive pill is a safe and suitable treatment for you.
You should not take Qlaira Tablets if any of the following apply to you:
- You have (or have ever had) a blood clot.
- You are due to have an operation.
- You have ever had a heart attack or a stroke.
- You have very high blood pressure.
- You have severe diabetes with blood vessel damage.
- You have (or have ever had) liver disease.
- You have (or have ever had) cancer of the breast or genital organs.
- You have any unexplained bleeding from the vagina.
- You are allergic (hypersensitive) to estradiol valerate or dienogest.
Qlaira and other medications
You should always tell your doctor if you are taking or are planning to take any other medication alongside Qlaira, including over-the-counter and herbal remedies. This is because Qlaira can impact the function of other medications, and vice versa.
In particular, you should tell your doctor if you are taking or planning to take medication for any of the following conditions:
- Epilepsy (e.g. primidone, phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, felbamate).
- Tuberculosis (e.g. rifampicin).
- HIV and Hepatitis C Virus infections (e.g. ritonavir, nevirapine, efavirenz).
- Fungal infections (e.g. griseofulvin, ketoconazole).
For more advice on the relationship between Qlaira and other medicines, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.