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Marvelon

  • Contraceptive pill
  • Contains two types of female sex hormones (combination pill)
  • Highly effective
  • Not to be used while breastfeeding

About Marvelon

Marvelon is an oral contraceptive containing two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. These hormones prevent an egg being released from your ovaries so you can’t get pregnant. Marvelon also makes the fluid (mucus) in your cervix thicker which makes it virtually impossible for sperm to enter the womb.

How to use Marvelon

Marvelon is highly effective at preventing pregnancy if taken as directed:

  • Marvelon comes in strips of 21 tablets, marked with a day of the week. Each day corresponds with one tablet. Take the tablets at about the same time every day, with a drink of water if necessary.
  • Follow the direction of the arrows on the strip. Take one tablet each day. After you have taken all 21 tablets in the strip, you have seven days when you take no tablets. During this tabletfree week, you should have a withdrawal bleed like a period. This bleed typically occurs within two or three days of taking the last tablet from the strip.
  • Start with your next strip on day 8 – even if you are still bleeding. As long as you take Marvelon correctly, you will always start each next strip on the same day of the week and your withdrawal bleed will start on roughly the same day each month.

Starting Marvelon

  • If you haven't used a contraceptive in the previous month, take your first Marvelon tablet on the first day of your cycle. (The first day of the cycle is the first day of menstruation.) By starting in this way, you will have contraceptive protection with your first tablet.
  • If you are changing to Marvelon from another contraceptive pill, then follow the instructions in the package leaflet.

If you are sick (vomit) after taking your tablet or have very bad diarrhoea your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill. This means the protection from pregnancy may be reduced. Refer to the package leaflet for instructions or consult a doctor.

Alcohol/driving

Marvelon does not interact with alcohol or affect your ability to drive safely.

If you take more Marvelon tablets than you should or miss a tablet

If you have taken too many Marvelon tablets or you think a child may have swallowed some, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Missed a dose of Marvelon?

If you are less than 12 hours late you will still protect you from pregnancy. Take the missed tablet as soon as you remember and take the next one at the usual time.

If you are more than 12 hours late Marvelon can be less effective. Refer to the package leaflet for instructions or consult a doctor.

When not to use Marvelon

Marvelon is not suitable for everyone. You should not use Marvelon if you have any of the conditions listed below. (Note: this list is not exhaustive.) Do not use this medicine if:

  • You have, or have ever had, a blood clot in a blood vessel of your legs (deep vein thrombosis, DVT), your lungs (pulmonary embolus, 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 stroke.
  • You have, or have ever had, angina pectoris or transient ischaemic attack (TIA temporary stroke symptoms).
  • You have certain diseases that may increase your risk of a clot in the arteries (see the package leaflet).
  • You have, or have ever had, a type of migraine called migraine with aura.
  • You have, or have had, pancreatitis (an inflammation of the pancreas) associated with high levels of fatty substances in your blood.
  • You have jaundice or have, or have recently had, a severe liver disease and your liver function tests have not returned to normal.
  • You have, or have had, had a liver tumour or cancer that may grow under the influence of sex hormones (e.g., of the breast or the genital organs).
  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in this medicine (see section ‘What Marvelon contains').

See package leaflet for a full list of warnings and contraindications.

When should this medicine be used with caution?

Tell your doctor if any of the following conditions apply to you. If the condition develops, or gets worse while you are using Marvelon, you should also tell your doctor.

  • You smoke.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You are overweight.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have a heart valve disorder or certain heart rhythm disorder.
  • You have an inflammation in the veins under the skin (superficial thrombophlebitis).
  • You have varicose veins.
  • Anyone in your immediate family has had thrombosis, a heart attack or stroke.
  • You suffer from migraine headaches.
  • You have epilepsy.
  • You have elevated levels of fat in the blood (hypertriglyceridaemia) or a positive family history for this condition.
  • You need an operation or if you are off your feet for a long time.
  • You have just given birth. You should ask your doctor how soon after delivery you can start taking Marvelon.
  • Anyone in your immediate family has or has had breast cancer.
  • You have liver disease or gall bladder disease.
  • 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 a condition that occurred for the first time or worsened during pregnancy or previous use of sex hormones (e.g., hearing loss, a metabolic disease called porphyria, a skin disease called herpes gestationis, a neurological disease called Sydenhamchorea).
  • You have, or have had, chloasma (yellowishbrown pigmentation patches on the skin, particularly of the face). If so, avoid too much exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation.

See the package leaflet for a full list of situations in which Marvelon should not be used or used with caution.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Do not use Marvelon if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Other medicines and Marvelon

Tell your doctor if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines. This includes medicines obtained without a prescription and herbal medicines. For a complete list of medicines that may interfere with the way Marvelon works, please see the package leaflet. Your doctor will know whether these medicines can be taken alongside Marvelon.

Side effects

Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although some people may not experience any.

Note: combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) slightly increase the risk of having a blood clot in the veins and arteries. Please be alert and see your doctor if you think you may have symptoms of a blood clot (see the package leaflet). Read the package leaflet carefully for more information on the risks of the use of CHCs.


Other side effects that are known to be associated with Marvelon include:

Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 women):

  • Feelings of depression, mood changes.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea or stomach pain.
  • Breast tenderness or soreness.
  • Weight gain.

Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 women):

  • Fluid retention (oedema).
  • Decreased sexual desire.
  • Migraine.
  • Vomiting, diarrhoea.
  • Skin rash, hives (nettle rash).
  • Breast enlargement.

For a complete list of side effects, see the package leaflet. If you experience side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. This includes any side effects not listed in this leaflet.

What Marvelon contains

The active substances are desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol. Each tablet contains: 150 micrograms of the progestogen desogestrel, and 30 micrograms of the oestrogen ethinyl estradiol.

Package leaflet

Read the package leaflet before use. The official package leaflet of Marvelon is available for download here.

Reviewed by:

Dr Wouter Mol, General practitioner Registrationnumber: BIG: 9057675501 Last checked: 21-11-2023 | Still valid

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