Qlaira is a brand of the combined oral contraceptive pill. It is taken to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, and is an effective method of contraception when taken as prescribed. Qlaira pills are also prescribed for women who have heavy menstrual bleeding and also require contraception.
What is Qlaira?
- Qlaira is a combined oral contraceptive pill
- It contains synthetic versions of the natural hormones produced by a woman’s body (oestrogen and progesterone)
- Qlaira is the brand name, and the active ingredients are dienogest and estradiol valerate
- Qlaira is taken if you want to avoid getting pregnant whilst sexually active
- The combined pill is not suitable for all women, as it can increase the risk of blood clots and some cancers
- Qlaira does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
- The tablets in Qlaira have a changing dose throughout the cycle so it is vital that the pills are taken in the right order
- It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.
How Does Qlaira Work?
Qlaira contains two hormones that would naturally be produced by a woman’s body. When taken in the dose contained within the pills, they prevent you from getting pregnant.
Qlaira works in three ways to prevent a pregnancy from occurring.
- It prevents an egg from being released from the ovaries
- It makes the mucus around the cervix thicker to stop sperm from entering the uterus
- It prevents the lining of the uterus from thickening, so that a fertilised egg would be unable to implant and begin developing.
The combined pill is one of the most effective reversible forms of contraception. In this context, the word reversible means that if you stop taking it, you could get pregnant. It is therefore not a permanent choice and should not prevent you from getting pregnant in future if you wanted to.
How is Qlaira Taken?
Qlaira tablets must be taken in the correct order as labelled on the package. Each pill should be swallowed with some water at around the same time every day. The tablets can be taken with or without food.
When you first start Qlaira, you should begin taking it on the first day of your period. Take one tablet every day until the packet is finished (28 tablets in total). A withdrawal bleed (a bleed that is like a period) may occur during the last few days of the packet, or after the first few tablets of the new packet are taken.
If you are already taking another combined contraceptive, start taking Qlaira on the day after the last active tablet of the previous contraceptive cycle.
If you are switching from a progesterone only pill (POP or mini-pill), you can change to Qlaira on any day but it is advised that an additional form of contraception is used for the initial 9 days of tablet taking.
What is the proper dosage of Qlaira?
The 28 pills in Qlaira all contain different doses of synthetic oestrogen and progesterone. One pill is taken every day for 28 days in the following order:
- 2 pills containing 3mg estradiol
- 5 pills containing 2mg estradiol and 2mg dienogest
- 17 pills containing 2mg estradiol and 3mg dienogest
- 2 pills containing 1mg estradiol
- 2 pills that contain no active substances.
Each pill is numbered and the arrows indicate which tablet to take next.
What side effects can Qlaira have?
Qlaira Side Effects
Like all medications, Qlaira can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Abdominal pain
- Weight gain
- Mood swings or low mood
- Painful breasts.
These side effects are likely to settle down, but if they persist or become troublesome you should speak to your doctor for further advice.
Occasionally, Qlaira can cause more serious health concerns. Qlaira can increase your risk of:
- Blood clots to the legs – seek medical advice immediately if you experience a painful, red, or swollen leg
- Blood clots to the lungs – seek help immediately if you experience breathlessness, chest pain or cough up any blood
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Liver disease.
Qlaira may not be suitable if you, or a close family member, have been diagnosed with one of these conditions.
Serious allergic reactions happen very rarely. If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip swelling or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.
What warnings does Qlaira come with?
Qlaira may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your prescriber if you:
- Have, or have ever had, cervical or breast cancer
- Have, or have ever had, blood clots including those in the legs or lungs, or risk factors for these conditions
- Have ever had a heart attack or stroke
- Are having an operation that will lead to a period of immobilisation
- Have blood clotting abnormalities
- Have liver or kidney disease
- Have gallstones
- Have otosclerosis (a form of deafness)
- Have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- Have Lupus (SLE)
- Have sickle cell disease
- Have migraines
- Have angioedema (swelling of different parts of the body)
- Have porphyria
- Are breastfeeding.
Your prescriber can then advise whether Qlaira is a suitable medication for you.
Some medications can interact with Qlaira. You may be advised that Qlaira will not suit you if you already take:
- Medications for HIV or AIDS
- St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- Medications for seizures or epilepsy
- Etoricoxib pain relief.