• Taken daily for the full 28 days
  • Can offer relief from PMS symptoms
  • Mimics your natural menstrual cycle

Qlaira is a combined contraceptive pill that provides effective protection against pregnancy. This pill is multiphasic, meaning it's designed to mimic changing hormone levels in your natural menstrual cycle as closely as possible. Complete our free no obligation consultation and you can order Qlaira contraception if it has been approved by one of our partner doctors. The contraceptive is then sent via our free next working day delivery service.

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What is Qlaira?

Qlaira is a form of oral contraceptive known as the pill that is over 99% effective when used correctly[1].

It was the first oral contraceptive to use estradiol valerate rather than ethinylestradiol, which is the synthetic oestrogen used in most combined contraceptive pills as one of its active ingredients. It also contains dienogest, which is a form of synthetic progestogen.

How does the Qlaira pill work?

Qlaira is a combined oral contraceptive, which means it prevents pregnancy in three ways using both oestrogen and progestogen. Firstly, the hormones in the pill trick the body into thinking ovulation has already taken place meaning an egg is not released. Secondly, if in the unlikely event an egg is released, Qlaira thickens the cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to travel into the uterus. Finally, the lining of the womb is made thinner so if an egg is released and fertilised, it would not be able to imbed itself to the wall.

Without oral contraceptives With oral contraceptives Released egg Fallopian tube Ovary Endometrium
(uterus lining)
Cervix UTERUS VAGINA Oestrogen and progestogen can prevent an egg from being released from the ovaries each month most of the time. Progestogen causes thinning of the endometrium (uterus lining) so, if an egg is released, it cannot implant on the wall. Lastly, progestogen also thickens the mucus in the cervix so sperm is prevented from reaching the egg.
Chemical composition of estradiol

What are the benefits of the Qlaira pill?

Qlaira is a contraceptive that can also be used to treat heavy or painful periods. As Qlaira is a 28-day pill, it is designed to closely mimic your natural menstrual cycle, meaning you will be less likely to experience side effects of this contraceptive pill than most others.

If you start to take Qlaira on the first day of your period, you will be protected immediately against pregnancy. If you continue to take Qlaira correctly, you will have less than a 1% chance of falling pregnant.

How do I take Qlaira?

A course of Qlaira contains 28 pills which is unusual for a combined pill. Having a pill without a break can help women to remember to take it so it's always fully effective. Mini pills offer 28 pills in each blister pack but might not be compatible for you without oestrogen.

There are four types of active tablets which contain different doses of hormones. Further information about what is in these pills is available in the dosage information further down the page.

It is important that you take your course of medication in exactly the order specified by the pack. Beginning with the first tablet on the first day of your period means it's effective immediately, if not it is advised to use condoms for the following seven days. There are self-adhesive strips supplied with each pack of Qlaira to help remember which day to take each tablet.

Though the two white pills do not contain any active ingredients, it is still important to take them as scheduled. This is to ensure that you remember to take each pill regularly. You will still be protected against pregnancy while you take these two pills.

If not taken on the first day of your period, use condoms for the following seven days. Take each pill around the same time every day for maximum effectiveness. Many women set an alarm to remember their next dose. Each Qlaira pill can be easily swallowed with or without drink and food. Store away from direct sunlight and under the temperature of 25°C. Double check the expiry date and patient leaflet regarding use and missed pill if unsure.

What to do if I miss a Qlaira pill?

If you happen to forget to take your pill or more than one pill in one blister pack at the usual time, follow the below protocol:

  • If you have missed one Qlaira pill then take it as soon as possible unless it is close to the time of your next pill. If it is nearer to the next pill than the previous time, miss it out completely and continue with the blister pack as normal. Missing one pill in one blister pack will not affect the effectiveness and you will not need further barrier protection.
  • If you miss two or more pills in one blister pack, then you will not be protected at maximum effect. However, take the last missed pill as soon as you remember unless it is close to the time of your next pill. Do not take two pills in close proximity - this will not combat the mistake - and skip the missed pills. It is advised to use condoms or refrain from sex for the next seven-nine days.

For more information about what to do if you've missed your dosage for a significant period, it's always best to speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

What if I miss my dose?

Due to the way Qlaira's dosages differ depending on which pill you're scheduled to take, the guidelines for missed doses vary. There are 26 active tablets and two inactive pills. Therefore, if you miss your white inactive pill, there is nothing to worry about.

However, should you miss one of the active pills then try to take it as soon as possible. Although, you shouldn't take more than two active pills near the same time so if this happens you should talk to your GP for further instructions.

If you have unprotected sex within 12 hours of a late dosage then you will still be protected by Qlaira, however, if you're late by more than this time then you need to use other forms of protection such as condoms for nine days after.

Due to the way this medication works, your risks are different depending on which day of the pill cycle you're currently on, so it's always best to call your doctor for more information should you find yourself in this situation. Alternatively, refer to the patient leaflet (included at the bottom of this page) which is present in every box of Qlaira.

How many pills have you missed? How late?
  • One pill less than
    12 hours late
  • Started a new pill pack less than 12 hours late
  • One pill more than
    12 hours late
  • Started a new pill pack more than 12 hours late
  • Two or more pills in one pack
  • One menstrual cycle = 28 days

*There are more than seven pills left in the pack. Continue to finish the pack, overlapping the seven-day break. Take your seven-day break and start your new pack as usual.

*There are fewer than seven pills left in the pack. Continue to finish the pack, overlapping the seven-day break. Start the new pack immediately after the old one is finished (missing out the seven-day break completely).

*If you have missed contraceptive pills in the first one to seven days of the pill pack and have had sex without barrier contraception, you could be pregnant. If you have calculated this between one to five days after theunprotected sex, you could use emergency contraception such as the IUD or morning-after pill. If not, continue your contraception until the seven-day break. If you don't have any bleeding, it is advised to take a pregnancy test and/or consult your doctor.

What dosages are available for Qlaira?

The dosage system with Qlaira is slightly different to that of other combined oral contraceptive tablets. Over the course of 28 pills (one pill each day without a break) each colour corresponds the following:

  • Two dark yellow tablets: 3mg estradiol,
  • Five light red tablets: 2mg estradiol and 2mg dienogest
  • 17 light yellow tablets: 2mg estradiol and 3mg dienogest
  • Two dark red tablets: 1mg estradiol.
  • There will also be two inactive white tablets in a pack.

This dosage has been formulated to maintain effectiveness whilst simultaneously minimising possible side effects.

Are there any side effects when taking Qlaira pills?

The risk of side effects in medications like Qlaira is considered low, however as with any prescription medication, there is a possibility that you will experience negative reactions. If you do experience any adverse effects, you should be aware that they are most likely caused by your body adjusting to the hormones and should be temporary. If they persist or worsen after the first three months, you should discuss this with a doctor who will be able to advise you further.

The most common side effects are usually very mild and include nausea, headaches, bloating, weight gain, acne, irregular periods, abdominal, breast, and/or nipple pain.

Rare side effects can include liver problems, back pain, constipation, blood clots and excessive hair growth.

None of these side effects should be permanent, and most will disappear when your body gets used to the pill. Not all the side effects are listed above, so it's recommended you read the patient leaflet for a more detailed look. If you are concerned about any serious side effects, you should contact a qualified healthcare professional.

What are the precautions/interactions for Qlaira?

Qlaira is considered a safe contraceptive for most women over the age of 18 who require an effective contraceptive cover. However certain conditions or situations may limit who can use this pill. This includes:

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you are a smoker
  • If you are over the age of 35
  • If you are allergic to the synthetic ingredients
  • If you have or have had circulatory problems or issues with your heart or liver
  • If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots or a history of migraines

Some medications may affect the efficacy of this medication. These include some antibiotics and sedatives, as well as medications to treat epilepsy. Phenylbutazone, griseofulvin and St John's Wort are also not considered compatible with Qlaira.

For further information, please refer to the patient information leaflet that is provided with your Qlaira pills, and is also available for download towards the bottom of this page.

How can I buy Qlaira online safely?

You can buy Qlaira online from HealthExpress with our safe and secure ordering process. We require you to complete a free confidential consultation, which will ensure that the Qlaira pill is suitable for you. Once a doctor has approved you to order Qlaira, you will be issued a prescription, which will then be dealt with by our pharmacy. Your order will be dispatched for quick and secure delivery via free next day courier. If you live in London, you can receive your order today if you place it before 4.30pm.

Dr Hilary Jones Independent Medical Adviser

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