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Qlaira is a form of hormonal contraceptive that works with the female menstrual cycle for the temporary prevention of pregnancy. As a combined pill, this medication contains two hormones that affect the way that the menstrual cycle works. Qlaira contains dienogest and estadiol valerate.

What is Qlaira?

Qlaira is a hormonal contraceptive pill, or combined pill, intended to help women avoid unwanted pregnancy. Qlaira works with the female hormonal cycle, using two different kinds of female sex hormone. The two active ingredients in this medication are estradiol, which is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and dienogest, which is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. These two hormones can be broken down by the body to form substances identical to the natural versions in the body.

Combined pills such as Qlaira over-ride the natural menstrual cycle, stopping your ovaries from releasing the egg that it would normally release each month which means that you do not follow your usual pattern of ovulation. Qlaira is also helpful at increasing the mucus naturally found around the mouth to the womb, which makes it harder for sperm to cross over into the womb. The lining of the womb may also become thinner when you are taking Qlaira, which means that successfully fertilized eggs may not be able to implant there.

When is Qlaira used?

The Qlaira contraceptive pill is most commonly given to women of all ages to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancy. Taking this medication will not stop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, but it can prevent pregnancy from happening when it is used correctly. In some cases, your consultant may also prescribe Qlaira for other reasons, for instance if you have issues with extremely heavy and painful menstrual cycles. If you have irregular or painful periods, the combined help can make your periods more manageable.

How do you use Qlaira?

Qlaira is a prescription drug that can only be obtained after a medical consultation. Each packet of Qlaira comes with 28 tablets, intended to last a total of four weeks. Each packet will contain 26 active tablets, which feature the hormonal ingredients, and two inactive tablets which may be a different colour to the rest of the pills, to make it clear which is which. You will begin taking the pill in the order that is specified on the packet. Qlaira often comes with days written on top of the blister pack, so you can keep track of your dosage. You will need to consistently take this medication at the same time every day to get the best effects from it.

Unlike other combination pills, there is no seven-day break when you are using Qlaira. Instead, you will start the next packet of pills straight after you finished the last one. In some cases, during the last four days of each packet of Qlaira, your hormonal levels will fall, which means that you could get a withdrawal bleed similar to a regular period. Swallow a single pill each day with a glass of water and try to make sure that you are taking your tablet at the same time every day. Some people will benefit from setting an alarm that tells them when they need to use their pill. If you do forget to take a Qlaira pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you take the pill within 12 hours of when you were due to take it, then you should still be protected from pregnancy.

If you are taking Qlaira more than 12 hours late, then you will need to use an additional form of contraception, just in case. If you forget to take one of the white inactive pills with Qlaira, do not worry about taking it. However, it’s a good idea to get rid of that pill so you do not forget and take it instead of an active one.

What dosages are there?

Qlaira comes in a blister packet including 28 pills. 26 of those pills will include the active ingredients that affect your hormones, while two will include no active ingredients at all. The inactive pills are placebos that are intended to keep you in a regular pattern of taking your pill every day. You will need to take a single pill every day, at the same time when using Qlaira. Do not miss a dose of your pill if you can avoid it. If you do miss a dose and have unprotected sex, then contact your doctor to find out what you should do next. You may need to take another form of emergency contraception to protect yourself against pregnancy. Do not take a seven-day break with Qlaira.

What are the side effects of Qlaira?

Most women tolerate combined pills such as Qlaira very well. However, all medications can come with potential side effects that you should be aware of before you begin using your new medication. If you are concerned about side effects, you can read the patient leaflet that is included with Qlaira to find out more about some of the issues that you may have.

Many of the side effects associated with Qlaira will take place when your body is still getting used to the change in hormones. For instance, you may feel sick or have abdominal pain when using this pill for the first couple of months. Some women also experience headaches, breast pain and slight bleeds between their periods. You may also stop having periods all together. If any of these side effects persist or worsen, speak to your doctor.

It is possible to have some more, slightly more serious side effects. For instance, mood changes can take place when you begin taking the combined pill for the first time, and some women experience fluid retention and changes in their weight. You might also notice a change in your sexual drive or libido, a rise in blood pressure – your doctor will want to regularly check your blood pressure for this, skin reactions or rashes, or increased blood clot risks – particularly in your arteries. The increased risk of blood clots with combined pills such Qlaira is often of particular concern to doctors. You may have a higher risk of getting a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis if you spend a lot of time immobile, such as if you sit in front of a desk for several hours a week. You will need to speak to your consultant about your current routine to see whether the Qlaira contraceptive pill is safe for you to use.

Your risk of blood clots will also go up if you are travelling for longer periods of time. Ask your pharmacist or doctor about advice on things such as doing calf exercises and wearing travel stockings to prevent formation of blood clots.

When should you not use Qlaira?

The Qlaira contraceptive pill will not be suitable for all people. You should answer any questions asked by your consultant carefully and truthfully to ensure that this medication is right for you. You may be asked questions about your medical history, particularly if you have ever had a history of blood clots in your legs or lungs. Your consultant will also want to know if you have ever had a stroke, angina or heart attack, or a heart valve disease that could make you more susceptible to serious side effects.

Qlaira and similar combined pills are not recommended for people who are over the age of 35. This pill may not be ideal for you if you are very overweight, or if you smoke regularly, as your risk of clotting will be higher than it is with most other people. You should also avoid the Qlaira contraceptive pill if you have severe diabetes that affects your nerves, kidneys or eyes.

Most of the time, consultants and doctors will avoid prescribing Qlaira to people who have migraines with an aura, as well as anyone who has ever had any issues with breast cancer or liver disease. People with liver cancer, jaundice and gall bladder disease should also avoid taking this medication.

In some cases, if you do have some risks associated with taking the Qlaira contraceptive pill, you will simply need to get your condition checked by your doctor more regularly when taking this medication. For instance, if you have ever had high blood pressure, you will need to get regular blood pressure checks conducted when using any form of the combined pill.

Do not take the Qlaira contraceptive pill if you are pregnant or if you have ever had any allergic reactions to the active medications in this substance, or the inactive ingredients. Qlaira might not be suitable for you if you have ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, a history of migraines or a long-term condition called SLE.

Does Qlaira interact with any other medications?

Before you begin taking any new medication, including the combined contraceptive pill, it is important to tell your consultant about any other substances that you are already taking. Over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, herbal remedies and supplements may interact negatively with Qlaira and increase your risk of serious side effects.

In some cases, taking certain medications alongside the Qlaira contraceptive pill could mean that your pill does not work as well, and increases your chances of pregnancy. For instance, medications such as rifabutin (an antibiotic for tuberculosis), ritonavir for HIV, and certain antiepileptic medications reduce the efficacy of Qlaira. The herbal remedy St John’s Wort could stop your medication from working properly, as could the antifungal medication griseofulvin. Do not take the Qlaira contraceptive pill at the same time as the narcolepsy medication modafinil.

If you are prescribed a short course of a medication that may affect the performance of the Qlaira contraceptive pill, your doctor or consultant may recommend that you continue to use the drug but also use a form of barrier contraception alongside your pill. This will help to ensure that you are less likely to fall pregnant. Antibiotics are unlikely to make the Qlaira contraceptive pill less effective, except for rifabutin and rifampicin. Any medication that makes you vomit or gives you diarrhoea may reduce the performance of the Qlaira contraceptive pill. These include weight-loss medications and laxatives.

Where can you buy Qlaira?

You can place an order for the Qlaira contraceptive pill after a full consultation with one of our EU professionals, when you will be required to submit a recent blood pressure reading. A prescription can then be sent out to you to a corresponding pharmacy.

Can you get the Qlaira contraceptive pill without a prescription?

Contraceptive pills such as Qlaira will not be suitable to take without a prescription. Your consultant will need to ensure that this substance is the correct choice for your needs.

Sources:, online, 2019 “Qlaira film-coated tablets” [accessed 20 November 2019] available on:

NPS Medicine wise, online 2019, “Qlaira” [accessed 20 November 2019] available on:

UK Meds, online, 2019, “What is Qlaira used for?”, [accessed 20 November 2019] available on:

Patient Leaflet(s)

Reviewed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner Registrationnumber: GMC: 4741365 Last checked: 25-04-2023 | Still valid

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