What is Femodene?
Femodene is a contraceptive pill used to prevent pregnancy.
How does Femodene work?
Femodene contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. These hormones work in three different ways to protect against pregnancy; by preventing an egg being released from your ovaries; by making the fluid (mucus) in your cervix thicker, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb; and by preventing the lining of your womb thickening enough for an egg to grow in it.
What are the benefits of taking Femodene?
Using Femodene provides women with protection against unwanted pregnancies, allowing them more freedom with both their daily lives and sex lives. Because of the hormones it contains, Femodene can also help to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, or stop symptoms altogether for those who suffer badly.
When it comes to contraceptive pills, there are two different types of pills; the combined and the progestogen-only (also known as POP). Femodene fits into the first category, which are popular among women as they are a reliable and reversible method of contraception, plus it doesn’t interrupt sex. Femodene can also make your periods regular, lighter and less painful.
How do I use Femodene?
Femodene is a prescription-only medication. Always follow the advice of your doctor and read the patient information leaflet provided in the medication packet. Take the tablets orally by swallowing whole with some water.
When starting Femodene, you should take the first tablet on the first day of your next period to ensure you have protection from the first pill.
If you wish to start taking Femodene but are already on a different pill, then you should start your Femodene on the day after you finish your last pack of the previous pill.
For women who have just had a baby and wish to start Femodene, this should be 21 days after delivery (provided you are fully mobile). However, for the first 7 days worth of pills you will need additional contraception (such as condoms) to properly protect against pregnancy. If you have had a miscarriage or abortion then consult your doctor in regards to taking Femodene.
The packets are clearly marked with days of the week and arrows to guide users on the direction of use. You select your first pill based on the day of the week that you begin (for example, if you start on a Wednesday then take the tablet on the first row marked ‘Wed’). Follow the direction of the arrows, taking one tablet a day until you finish the pack.
Once you have had the 21 tablets in the pack, you should have a 7 day break with no pills. You will still be protected against pregnancy during this time, provided you were taking the pills correctly. After the 7 day break, you should begin the next pack on the appropriate day (so if your last pill from the previous pack was on a Friday, you should begin the new pack on the following Saturday). During the break, you should have some vaginal bleeding like a period and even if it has not stopped by the time you are due to begin the next Femodene pack, you should still start it on the intended day.
Femodene tablets come as 75/30 microgram film-coated tablets containing gestodene and ethinylestradiol respectively. Those using it should take one per day at approximately the same time for 21 days and then have a 7 day break, meaning that each pack equates to a 4 week supply.
Missing pills or starting a strip late may make your pill less effective. If you miss one pill then just take it when you remember and it won’t be a problem. If you miss more than one or start a pack more than one day late then it may mean you are not protected against pregnancy. If this happens, continue to take the pill as normal, taking the most recent missed pill and leaving any additional missed ones in the pack, but use extra contraception (such as condoms) for 7 days.
If you are sick or have very bad diarrhoea, your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill. If you have been sick within 2 hours of taking Femodene, just take a pill from a spare strip. Carry on taking your pills as normal if you can and you shouldn’t need to use extra contraception.
If you want to delay having a period, finish the strip of pills you are taking. Start the next strip the next day without the usual 7 day break and then continue as normal.
Side effects & precautions
Before taking Femodene, you should always first consult your doctor. You should not take Femodene if any of the following apply to you:
- If you have (or have ever had) a blood clot in a blood vessel
- If you know you have a disorder affecting your blood clotting
- If you need an operation or if you are off your feet for a long time
- If you have ever had a heart attack or stroke
- If you have (or have ever had) angina pectoris
- If you have severe diabetes with blood vessel damage, very high blood pressure, a very high level of fat in the blood or a condition known as hyperhomocysteinaemia
- If you have (or have ever had) a type of migraine called ‘migraine with aura’
- If you have ever had breast cancer
- If you have ever had a severe liver disease
- If you have ever had liver tumours
- If you are allergic (hypersensitive) to any of the ingredients in Femodene
Your prescription of Femodene may also be affected by a number of other factors, so you should make your doctor aware if any of the following apply:
- Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (chronic inflammatory bowel disease)
- systemic lupus erythematosus
- haemolytic uraemic syndrome
- sickle cell anaemia (an inherited disease of the red blood cells)
- inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- elevated levels of fat in the blood or a positive family history for this condition
- you need an operation, or you are off your feet for a long time
- you have just given birth
- inflammation in the veins under the skin
- varicose veins
- problems with your heart
- family history of blood clotting
- inherited disease called porphyria
- overweight or obese
- any illness that worsened during pregnancy or previous use of the Pill
Like many medications with active ingredients, Femodene can affect or be affected by other medicines. Particular medications that you may experience this with include the following:
- some medicines used to treat epilepsy
- some medicines used to treat HIV and Hepatitis C Virus infections
- griseofulvin (an anti-fungal medicine)
- certain antibiotics
- certain sedatives (called ‘barbiturates’)
- St. John’s Wort (a herbal remedy).
If you are taking any of the above medications, then you should make your doctor aware so that they can advise whether or not Femodene will be the best course of action for you.
Breast cancer has been found slightly more often in women who take the Pill than in women of the same age who do not take the Pill. If women stop taking the Pill, this reduces the risk, so that 10 years after stopping the Pill, the risk is the same as for women who have never taken it. Either way, you should check your breasts regularly and notify your doctor if you notice any lumps or changes.
Deep venous thrombosis is a rare occurrence. It can develop whether or not you are taking the Pill, however, the risk is higher for those who are taking it. You should notify your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of development.
The most common side effects of using Femodene include:
- feeling sick
- stomach ache
- putting on weight
- depressive moods or mood swings
- sore or painful breasts
If you do experience one or more of these side effects and they persist or worsen, then inform your doctor right away. You should also contact your doctor immediately if you experience any serious side effects, such as signs of a blood clot, breast cancer or liver problems.