The progesterone-only pill is now available over the counter – here’s how to get it

The progesterone-only pill (POP) is available over the counter without a doctor’s prescription as of July 2021. Two kinds of POP are available to be sold, but you will need to chat to a pharmacist first. Women have found it increasingly difficult to obtain their contraceptive of choice during the pandemic, so this move is very exciting and well overdue. Even before COVID-19, contraceptive services were stretched to the limit. Now, GP services are under pressure as never before. Plus, the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) have recently reported that government cuts have left sexual health services at breaking point. chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out more about getting the pill without a prescription.

Two progesterone-only pills (POPs), Hana and Lovima, can now be sold over the counter.

Dr Lee said: “Hana and Lovima are both brand names for the POP containing the progesterone, desogestrel. Each pill contains 75 mcg of desogestrel.

“Specialists have been in favour of this announcement.”

Dr Edward Morris, President of RCOG said “this announcement is a huge win for women and girls who will no longer face unnecessary barriers when accessing this type of contraception.

“Even before the pandemic, too many women and girls were struggling to access basic women’s health services.”

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) was also delighted.

The President, Dr Asha Kasliwal, said: “Progestogen-only contraceptive pills are safe, reliable, easy to use and are an incredibly popular contraceptive method.

“Availability over the counter in pharmacies will make it easier for women to access essential contraception to avoid unplanned pregnancies during and beyond COVID-19.”

Dr June Raine, head of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MRHA) added her support.

She said: “This is good news for women and families. We have consulted a wide range of people to enable us to reach the decision to make this contraceptive available for the first time in the UK without prescription.

“We received many responses to our consultation, the majority of which supported this approach.”

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

What is POP?

The POP is safe, effective, and very easy to use. In fact, there are very few women who are not suitable.

Dr Lee said: “Making it easier to obtain, gives women more choice and greater autonomy over their reproductive health.

“The POP is a contraceptive pill that only contains the hormone progesterone.

“It does not contain any estrogen, and so is very different from the combined pill, which contains both hormones – estrogen and progesterone.

“The progesterone in both Hana and Lovima, is called desogestrel.”

With the POP, one pill is taken every day, continuously, without a seven-day break.

Dr Lee explained: “The pills work primarily as a contraceptive because they prevent ovulation.

“They also thicken cervical mucus, making it hostile to sperm, and flatten the womb lining (endometrium) so it is not suitable for implantation, but these are secondary effects.

“Taken correctly, these desogestrel POPs offer 99 percent contraceptive protection – which is as good as the combined pill.

“However, one pill must be taken every day, and at the same time every day. Pills only work as well as you are good at taking them!

“If you are late taking your desogestrel pill, you have 12 hours to remember it. If you are more than 12 hours late taking it, this counts as a missed pill

“If you are later than 12 hours taking your pill, take it as soon as you can, take the next pill on time, but abstain from sex or use a condom for 48 hours, until two pills have been taken consecutively on time, and then your contraceptive protection is back to normal.”

The biggest problem with POPs is irregular bleeding, which is common in the first few months of use but does tend to improve with time.

Half of the women on the POP will not have periods or will have light, infrequent bleeding, according to Dr Lee.

However, she said: “Not having periods is not dangerous – it’s a bonus! It may also reduce period pain.

“Other side effects are uncommon. There is no proven effect on weight gain.”

How to get POP

You can obtain the POP from your GP, or from the Sexual Health Clinic at the moment.

Dr Lee said: “All contraception is available free of charge, in the UK, and will be given to you at your clinic appointment.

“It’s important to think ahead and not let yourself run out of pills.

“A 12 month supply of the POP can be given at your first clinic visit.”
You can also purchase both combined and progesterone-only contraceptive pills from online pharmacies too.

Dr Lee said: “These will be prescribed by a doctor, after completing an online questionnaire, and sent in the post.

“If you prefer, you can now purchase the POPs Hana and Lovima, from a pharmacy over the counter, or from an online pharmacy, without the need for a prescription.

“This will still require a consultation with a pharmacist.”

At Boots the chemist, the price of Hana will be £9.95 for a one-month pack and £21.95 for a three-month pack.

The price of Lovima will be £14.99 for a one-month pack and £29.99 for a three-month pack.

Source: Read Full Article