Brevinor (ethinylestradiol en norethisterone)
A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.
Brevinor is a contraceptive pill that is used to prevent pregnancy. It is also known as ‘the pill’ or the ‘birth control pill’. Brevinor is a combined contraceptive pill, which means it contains a combination of both the active ingredients progesterone and oestrogen. This contraceptive pill is a popular choice for many women as it can have fewer side effects than some of the others on the market.
What is Brevinor?
Brevinor contains a combination of the female sex hormones that occur naturally in a woman's body - protesgerone and oestrogen. It is a contraceptive pill that prevents a woman from becoming pregnant and is sometimes referred to as the combined pill. Both the active ingredients in this pill (progesterone and oestrogen) work together to stop a pregnancy occurring when a woman has sexual intercourse.
If a woman has unprotected sex (i.e. with no form of contraception) she can become pregnant. In a woman´s normal menstrual cycle an egg is released from the ovaries each month which is known as ovulation. The fluctuating levels of hormones in the body cause this. If the egg is not fertilised the body sheds the lining of the womb, which is when a woman gets her monthly period. However, the egg can be fertilised by a man´s sperm if contraception is not being used, resulting in pregnancy. If the sperm and egg meet and the sperm successfully fertilises the egg then the egg will implant in the lining of the womb and an embryo will begin to form.
However, the contraceptive pill Brevinor can prevent this from happening and therefore avoid pregnancy. Brevinor contains 500 micrograms of progesterone and 35 micrograms of oestrogen. The combination of the two female hormones work together to:
- prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs
- thicken the mucus of the cervix so the egg is less likely to attach to the womb lining
- change the womb lining quality so an egg will have difficulty implanting
Oestrogen is also known as ethinylestradiol, which is the synthetic form of the hormone. It is used in several brands of contraceptive pills and sometimes also in hormone therapy for postmenopausal women.
Progesterone is also known as norethisterone, which is the synthetic form of the hormone. Brevinor should not be confused with norethisterone tablets, which prevent the womb lining shedding and are used to delays a woman´s period (perhaps for holidays or other events when a period would be inconvenient), to treat heavy period bleeding and to help acne problems.
There are two main types of contraceptive pill – the combined pill and the mini pill. As stated above, Brevinor is a combined pill. The difference is:
- Combined pill – contains both progesterone and oestrogen and you take it for 28 days then have a 7-day break, when you will have a bleed that is similar to a period. This pill should be taken at approximately the same time every day.
- Mini pill – contains only progesterone and you take it every day with no break. It is especially important to take this contraceptive pill at the same time every day or it could be ineffective. This pill is suitable for women who may not be able to take oestrogen.
When is Brevinor used?
Brevinor is a combined oral contraceptive pill that is used when a woman wishes to have an active sexual relationship but does not want to get pregnant. It is also sometimes used to lessen the intensity and pain of heavy periods and make a woman’s periods more regular.
How do you use Brevinor?
When you begin to take Brevinor you should take the first pill on the first day of your period. The pack is marked with the days of the week to help you remember to take your pill. Take the pill that corresponds to the day of the week your period has started. You then take one pill every day for 21 days at approximately the same time. Taking it at roughly the same time is important to help prevent pregnancy. When you have taken 21 pills you stop for 7 days and then you are likely to have a bleed similar to a period but it may be lighter than usual. This is nothing to worry about.
This also means that when you first take Brevinor you are likely to have two periods within 28 days. After a 7-day break, you start to take Brevinor again for 21 days, then take another 7-day break. You should begin taking your pill again after the break even if you are bleeding to ensure you will be protected from getting pregnant. You continue to take your contraceptive pill in this way for as long as you do not wish to become pregnant. Select a time of day when you are most likely to remember to take your pill. This could either be first thing in the morning or before you go to bed – depending on at which time you are most likely to remember.
If you take a Brevinor pill on the first day of your period you are protected from becoming pregnant immediately and do not need to use any additional methods of contraception. You may also take it within five days of your period starting. However, you may not be protected for seven days so it is advisable to use an extra method of contraception if you wish to have sexual intercourse during these seven days.
What dosages are there?
Brevinor is taken as a dose of one pill daily for 21 days. Then you have a break of 7 days and take the pill for the next 21 days again. If you forget to take a pill and you remember within 12 hours you should take another pill immediately, even if you take 2 on the same day. This means you are still protected against getting pregnant.
However, if you miss one or more pills and more than 12 hours has passed you only take the last missed pill as soon as you remember and continue to take the rest of the pack. You should also use extra contraception until you start a new pack after the 7-day break as you may be at risk of getting pregnant.
What are the side effects of Brevinor?
As with all medicines, there is the possibility of side effects when taking Brevinor. The most common side effects could be:
- changes in your periods (usually becoming lighter)
- irregular vaginal bleeding
- tender breasts
- putting on weight (due to your body retaining water)
- stomach upset
- feeling sick
- high blood pressure
- changes in your sex drive
- experience mood swings
- vaginal discharge
If you experience any of these side effects you may find they reduce after a few weeks of taking Brevinor. Every woman’s body reacts to the contraceptive pill differently. Some women experience no side effects, others have manageable side effects and some try taking different brands of contraceptive to lessen the effects. If you are concerned about any of the side effects you should talk to your doctor.
When shouldn’t you use Brevinor?
You should not use Brevinor if you:
- are over 35 years of age and smoke
- are over 50 years of age
- are breastfeeding
- have recently had a baby
- are obese (with a body mass index of 28 or over)
- have ever had a blood clot, particularly in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) or the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- are at risk of getting a blood clot
- have angina or heart disease
- suffer from severe diabetes
- get severe migraines
- are having treatment for varicose veins
- have or have had breast cancer (you may use Brevinor if you have been free of cancer for 5 years but you should discuss this with your doctor)
- have gallstones
- have a history of jaundice
- are taking the herbal medicine St John’s Wort
It is important to talk to your doctor about your medical history before taking Brevinor in case of any adverse reactions due to illnesses you have had or may have. You should not use Brevinor if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the package leaflet. If you think you may be pregnant while taking Brevinor you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Note that Brevinor does not give protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or the HIV virus.
Does Brevinor interact with other medication?
Some medications can interact with Brevinor and reduce its effectiveness so it is important to tell your doctor about any medicines you are taking. This includes herbal medicines, in particular, St John’s Wort which is used to treat depression. If you are sick or have diarrhoea your Brevinor pill may be less effective at protecting against pregnancy. If you have either for more than 24 hours you should use an additional method of contraception, such as a condom, for the 7 days after the illness has stopped.
Where can you buy Brevinor?
You need a prescription to buy Brevinor from a pharmacy.
Can I get Brevinor without a prescription?
No, you need a prescription from a doctor to get Brevinor.
Package leaflet. Brevinor. February, 2012. Retrieved 15 July, 2019 from https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/docomimg2.s3.amazonaws.com/leaflets/en/patient_information_leaflet-1491-brevinor-uk.pdf-1510756507.pdf
Brevinor (ethinylestradiol and norethisterone). March 11, 2014. Retrieved 15 July, 2019 from https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/sexual/a6330/brevinor-ethinylestradiol-and-norethisterone/