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About Zoely tablets
The Zoely pill is known as a combined oral contraceptive as it contains two different female hormones. The one-a-day tablets work by stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs, thickening cervical mucus, and thinning the uterus lining to prevent sperm getting to the egg.
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What is the Zoely contraceptive pill?
Zoely is a combined oral contraceptive pill which is up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken daily.
Zoely tablets contain oestrogen (estradiol) and progestogen (nomegestrol acetate) which are two hormones naturally produced during the menstrual cycle. Each pack contains 28 numbered Zoely tablets. The first 24 white pills contain both oestrogen and progesterone, while the four yellow tablets (numbered 25 to 28) only contain inactive ingredients.
What is Zoely used for?
Zoely tablets are designed to minimise your chances of getting pregnant. This kind of hormonal contraception prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, changing the cervical mucus, and making the uterus inhospitable.
Combined pills can be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, they are not considered an effective emergency contraception method, as they need some time to get into your system and synchronise with your cycle.
How is Zoely different from other pills?
Zoely works in much the same way as other combined contraceptive pills, with one notable difference; Zoely is the first oral monophasic pill to contain a form of oestrogen that is structurally identical to that which is produced naturally by a woman. One of the benefits of this is that it lowers the risk of side effects, while it can also help regulate your periods, ease cramping, and reduce bleeding.
How quickly does the Zoely pill work?
If you’ve not previously been using a hormonal contraceptive, you should start taking Zoely from the first day of your period. This will protect you against pregnancy straight away. However, if you start taking it any later, you should use a barrier contraception method (such as a condom) for at least 7 days to ensure you are protected.
Alternatives to Zoely
There are many combined pill alternatives to Zoely, each of which works slightly differently. These include monophasic pills such as Microgynon and Ovranette, everyday pills such as MicrogynonED, and phasic pills such as Logynon.
Progesterone-only pills (known as the ‘mini pill’) are typically prescribed to women who can’t take oestrogen for whatever reason — for example, because they have high blood pressure — and these include Desogestrel, Lovima, and Cerazette.
Other, non-hormonal forms of contraception include:
- Male and female condoms
- Contraceptive patches
- Contraceptive injections
- Contraceptive implants
- Intrauterine devices (known as the ‘coil’).
- Diaphragms or caps
Your GP can provide professional advice as to which type of contraception is most suited to your needs, lifestyle, and medical history. You can learn more about different types of female contraception in our helpful guide.
Is Zoely the same as Yasmin?
Zoely has similar contraceptive efficacy to Yasmin, with similar numbers of days of unscheduled bleeding. However, Zoely is a good option for women who prefer a pill with hormones similar to their own, since it contains oestrogen which closely mimics the oestrogen you produce naturally during your menstrual cycle.
How to use Zoely tablets
In most cases, if you aren’t currently using other hormonal contraception, or you haven’t used it in the past month, then you can begin using Zoey tablets; however, you should always follow advice from your GP, especially if you’re changing from another contraceptive treatment.
- When no hormonal contraceptive has been used in the past month: Start taking Zoely on the first day of your cycle (i.e. the first day of your menstrual bleeding).
- When changing from another combined hormonal contraceptive (combined pill, vaginal ring, or transdermal patch): You can start taking Zoely the day after you have taken the last tablet from your present pill blister (this means no tablet-free break). If you were using a vaginal ring or patch, it’s best to start using Zoely on the day you remove the ring or patch.
- When changing from a progestogen-only pill (mini pill): You can stop taking the mini pill any day and start taking Zoely the next day. However, if you are sexually active during this switch, using a barrier method of contraception for the first 7 days that you are taking Zoely is advised.
- When changing from a progestogen-only injectable or implant: Start using Zoely when your next injection is due or on the day that your implant is removed. If you are having intercourse, make sure you also use a barrier method of contraception for the first 7 days that you are taking Zoely.
- After having a baby: You can start the Zoely pill between 21 and 28 days after having a baby. If you start later than day 28, you should also use a barrier method of contraception during the first 7 days of using Zoely. If you are breastfeeding, always seek professional advice before starting this contraception method.
The Zoely blister pack will contain 28 tablets. 24 white tablets will have active substances (numbers 1-24) and 4 yellow tablets will have inactive substances (numbers 25-28).
Zoely tablets are taken daily:
- It is important that you start this contraceptive with an active tablet on the first day of your cycle for immediate protection. Follow the sequence as mapped out on the packaging, making sure to use the stickers to help you recognise the days of the week for each tablet.
- Take your tablets at the same time every day with water.
- You may experience a period (withdrawal bleeding) during the four days that you use the four yellow inactive tablets. Even if your period has not finished, it is important that you start your next blister pack immediately after the last yellow inactive tablet.
The active substances in Zoely include nomegestrol acetate and estradiol.
What are the side effects of Zoely?
Like all medicines, some patients may experience side effects when taking Zoely — though side effects are typically less common with Zoely compared to some other contraceptive pills.
There is an increased risk of blood clots for those taking Zoely or other combined pills. If you develop a blood clot, it will usually be in the first year of taking the pill. You may be at higher risk of developing a clot if you are overweight, have a family history of blood clots, are over the age of 35, or have recently given birth.
Blood clot symptoms may include:
- Swelling of the leg along with tenderness
- Increased warmth in the affected leg
- Sharp chest pain which may increase with deep breathing
- Painless blurring of vision which can progress to loss of vision
- Retinal vein thrombosis (blood clot in the eye)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Upper body discomfort radiating to the back, jaw, throat, arm, or stomach
Other possible side effects of Zoely include:
- Mood changes
- Changes in weight
- Vaginal dryness
If you have any concerns about any of the information listed above, or you experience any side effects not listed here, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Do not use Zoely if any of the following applies to you:
- 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 have (or have ever had) angina pectoris (a condition that causes severe chest pain and may be a first sign of a heart attack) or transient ischaemic attack (TIA – temporary stroke symptoms).
- You suffer from high blood pressure.
- You are allergic to estradiol or nomegestrol acetate, or any of the other ingredients of this medicine.
- You have ever had a heart attack or a stroke.
- You have (or have had) severe liver disease and your liver is not yet working normally.
Can you take Zoely while breastfeeding?
Zoely is not usually recommended for use during breastfeeding. Always ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking any contraception or any other medication while breastfeeding.