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If you're looking for a pill with fewer side effects then Brevinor could be a great choice. As a second-generation combined pill, Brevinor has less oestrogen than some other pills.

When taken properly, Brevinor is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

If you currently taking Brevinor and would like to reorder it, simply click the start consultation button below. One of our doctors will be able to confirm your order if it's suitable for you.


3 month course £19
6 month course £24

Price include delivery and prescription.

What is Brevinor?

Brevinor is a combined hormonal contraceptive pill which means it contains a combination of 2 hormones. It adds to the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in your body to stop you getting pregnant. These hormones naturally occur in women and are the main drivers of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

The active ingredients in Brevinor are norethisterone (progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (oestrogen). Brevinor pills are only available in 0.5 mg (0.5 milligrams) norethisterone and 35 µg (35 micrograms) ethinyl estradiol doses. There is a higher dose alternative available, known as Brevinor-1, which contains norethisterone 1 mg and ethinyl estradiol 35 µg. However, this page focuses on normal Brevinor.

Brevinor is a monophasic pill. Monophasic contraceptive pills contain the same amount of progesterone and oestrogen in each pill you take. This is different from biphasic and triphasic pills, which contain different amounts of each hormone depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle.

It isn't known for sure whether monophasic combined hormonal contraceptive pills are better or worse than biphasic or triphasic pills for preventing pregnancy, side effects, or controlling bleeding.

Brevinor is authorised to be made by Pfizer Limited, and is manufactured by Piramal Healthcare UK Limited.

How do I get a regular prescription for Brevinor?

You can obtain your first prescription via your doctor’s surgery (GP) or local Contraceptive and Sexual health Clinic (CASH). Before getting a prescription for Brevinor, you will need to discuss your choice of contraception with a doctor either or nurse in your doctor’s surgery, or at your CASH clinic. This is to make sure Brevinor is safe for you to use. Once you have got your first Brevinor prescription, you can place a repeat order online through an online doctor service like DrEd Online Doctor. 

Is Brevinor the best contraceptive pill for me?

Brevinor is an effective choice for preventing pregnancy. It also has other advantages and disadvantages. It is important that you go through a consultation to determine whether it's contraceptive for you. 

Brevinors benefits can include:

  • Reducing risk of womb and ovarian cancer.

  • Improving acne.

  • Regulating periods.

  • Reducing heavy bleeding.

  • Reducing pain during periods.

Like other combined hormonal contraceptive pills, Brevinor reduces your risk of developing womb or ovarian cancer, with the risks reducing more with longer use of the pill.

It is also known to be an effective treatment for some type of acne, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, and pain during periods. Its standard-strength level of oestrogen also means that it is better at regulating your periods, and has a lower chance of you experiencing spotting (unexpected vaginal bleeding) in between your periods.

However, Brevinor also has disadvantages. Like other similar pills Brevinor slightly increases risk of:

  • Breast cancer.

  • Blood clots/strokes.

Having more oestrogen than low-strength combined hormonal contraceptives also means that there is a slightly higher increased risk of blood clots forming when you take the pill. This risk is present with all combined hormonal contraceptives, and isn’t usually a problem unless you already have a higher than normal risk of developing blood clots, but this risk increases a little with higher doses of oestrogen. As with other combined hormonal contraceptives, Brevinor can also increases your risk of developing breast cancer, with long-term use.

Taking combined hormonal contraceptives long-term (five years or more) reduces your chance of developing ovarian cancer. The risk of developing ovarian cancer reduces further with longer use of combined hormonal contraceptives, and this is a benefit of all combined hormonal types of contraceptives which are currently available on prescription. It does not matter which ingredients or doses you take.

Who is Brevinor suitable for?

If you are currently taking a contraceptive pill. Whether brevinor is suitable for you or not depends on:

  • Your current health conditions.

  • Your current medication.

  • Whether you are pregnant.

  • Whether you are breastfeeding.

  • If you have had an unsuccessful pregnancy recently.

Brevinor might not be suitable for you to take if you have another medical condition. Therefore, you must always check with your doctor or nurse if it is suitable for you to take Brevinor. It may not be suitable for you if you have:

  • Just given birth, had an abortion or miscarriage.

  • Irregular periods.

  • Any problems with your breasts.

  • Migraines.

  • Frequent headaches.

  • Visual disturbances which come and go, such as losing some or all of your sight.

  • Diabetes.

  • Asthma.

  • Sharp pains in your abdomen (the middle part of your body).

  • Varicose veins.

  • Chloasma (brown patches on your skin which appeared while you were pregnant, and may or may not have faded).

  • Any disease that is likely to get worse during pregnancy.

  • Fibroids in your uterus.

  • Depression.

  • Epilepsy.

  • Conditions affecting your heart or blood vessels.

  • High blood pressure (known as hypertension).

  • Sickle-cell anaemia.

  • Kidney disease.

  • Liver dysfunction.

  • Multiple sclerosis.

  • Tetany.

  • Gallstones.

  • Otosclerosis.

  • Porphyria.

  • A current or recent history of smoking.

If you have just had a baby, Brevinor is suitable to take from 21 days after giving birth, as long as you are not breastfeeding. Brevinor is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding, and you should discuss taking a different contraceptive pill with your doctor. This is because Brevinor contains more oestrogen than some other contraceptive pills do, which may reduce the amount of milk you produce to feed your baby.

If you start taking Brevinor 21 days after giving birth to your baby, you will be protected against becoming pregnant immediately. If you start taking it later than 21 days, you may not be protected, and might need to use an additional contraceptive, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of taking Brevinor.

If you have had an abortion or miscarriage, you might be able to take Brevinor immediately. However, it is important that you tell your doctor or nurse about your abortion or miscarriage so that they can check that it is safe for you to use.

If you are taking another oral contraceptive, and are changing to Brevinor, you should start taking your first packet of Brevinor immediately after finishing the last packet of your old contraceptive pills. This will mean you are protected against pregnancy immediately. This will delay your period until you have your 7 day break from taking Brevinor. However, it is normal to have some breakthrough bleeding for the first few days of starting a new blister strip, when you haven’t had your 7 day break. If you think the bleeding might not be caused by this, speak to a doctor as soon as possible to check you for any other problems which may cause unexpected vaginal bleeding.

How does Brevinor compare with other combined hormonal contraceptive pills?

However, a common ‘trade off’ for this is that more women generally report having more side effects from taking combined hormonal contraceptives which contain more oestrogen. Other standard-strength pills like Brevinor contain between 30-50 µg ethinyl estradiol per pill.Brevinor with a standard dose of oestrogen (35 µg), has advantages and disadvantages over low strength pills. The main advantage is that you are less likely to experience unexpected vaginal bleeding, such as spotting in between periods.

Low-strength pills generally contain around 20 µg of oestrogen. These can be better if you experience strong side effects of the contraceptive pill on the standard dose. On the other hand they give less control over menstruation.

Below are some example of standard and low strength combined pills:

Amount of oestrogen

Name of combined pill

20 µg (low-strength)

Loestrin 20, Gedarel 20, Sunya 20, Mercilon, Femodette, Millinette 20

30 µg (standard-strength)

Logynon, Ovranette, Levest, Yasmin, Femodene, Gedarel 30, Katya, Rigevidon, Loestrin 30, Marvelon, Microgynon 30

35 µg (standard-strength – same as Brevinor) Cilest, Norimin
50 µg (standard-strength)  Norinyl-1

As well as having different amounts of oestrogen, different pills can also have different forms of progestogen. This can affect what side effects you experience and how strong they are.

Will Brevinor give me mood swings or make me gain weight?

It is difficult to be sure whether hormonal contraceptives are the cause of either of these symptoms. However, there does seem to be an increased risk of continued weight gain if you were already classed as being overweight before you started taking combined hormonal contraceptives. Brevinor may cause weight gain with long-term use, and may cause mood swings in some people.

Mood swings are commonly thought to be a side effect of taking hormonal contraceptives, it is not clear if contraceptive pill are the cause of this. If you feel that you are suffering from sudden changes in mood or weight gain on the contraceptive pill, it is best to keep a record of this and to speak to your doctor to figure out whether your medication is the cause of your mood changes or weight gain.

Is it safe for me to take Brevinor?

As long as you have been prescribed Brevinor by a doctor, nurse, or online doctor service then it should be safe for you. Make sure you give full and accurate information during your consultation for Brevinor. 

It is not safe for you to take Brevinor if you are:

  • Currently pregnant.

  • Currently breastfeeding.

  • Trying for a baby – Brevinor will stop you conceiving.

  • Allergic to any of the ingredients in Brevinor (norethisterone, ethinyl estradiol, maize starch, polyvidone, magnesium stearate, lactose and colouring E132).

It is not safe for you to take Brevinor if you currently have, or have previously had:

  • Any of the following during pregnancy:

    • Blood clots anywhere in your body, particularly in your legs, lungs or varicose veins.

    • Pruritus.

    • Jaundice – yellowing of your skin.

    • Pemphigoid gestationis – previously known as herpes gestationis.

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

  • An inflamed vein, caused by a blood clot.

  • A heart attack, stroke, or angina.

  • High levels of fats in your blood – known as hyperlipidaemia.

  • Any disorder of body fats.

  • Vaginal bleeding with no known cause.

  • Bad migraines.

  • Cancer of your breast, cervix, womb or vagina.

  • Severe chronic liver disease, such as liver tumours.

It might not be safe for you to take Brevinor if a member of your family has had deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a different condition listed above. Therefore, you should inform your doctor if you have a family history of any of the above conditions.

Some medicines or herbal remedies you take can change how well Brevinor will work. It is important that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you are currently taking, have recently taken, or are thinking of taking any of these medications or herbal remedies:

  • St John’s wort (also known as Hypericum perforatum).

  • Ritonavir.

  • Rifampicin.

  • Rifabutin.

  • Oxacarbazepine.

  • Carbamazepine.

  • Griseofulvin.

  • Phenytoin.

  • Primidone.

  • Topiramate.

  • Phenobarbital.

  • Nelfinavir.

  • Nevirapine.

  • Modafinil.

Do I need to take Brevinor every day?

It is important that you take Brevinor exactly how your doctor or pharmacist has told you, and that you check with them if you are not sure about how to take Brevinor. As with all oral contraceptive pills, you need to take your tablet at roughly the same time each day. Brevinor needs to be taken every day for 21 days in a row, followed by a 7 day break to allow you to have your period. Then take Brevinor for another 21 days, whether or not you are still bleeding.

Brevinor pills are marked with the days of the week on the packet. It is helpful if you make sure you follow these so that you can easily check whether you have taken your pill that day. It will also help you to not accidentally go longer than 7 days without taking your pill during your period. There are also mobile phone applications and alarms you can set to remind you to take you pill at the right time each day.

If you accidentally don’t take your Brevinor pill, take it as soon as you remember, and take your next pill as normal. However if you are more than 12 hours late taking your pill, it might not work even after you have taken it. For the next 7 days, you will need to use other forms of contraception, such as condoms, as well as taking your pill each day to protect you against pregnancy. Do not take more than one Brevinor pill at a time. If you are unsure whether or not you can take your missed pill, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. If you take more than one pill at once, go to your nearest hospital’s accident and emergency department immediately.

If you forget to take the pill, but have less than 7 tablets left in your blister strip, it is best to miss your 7 day break and start your next blister strip straight away instead. This will protect you from becoming pregnant immediately from when you took your last missed pill. This may cause you to not have your period, but this will not harm you. You may find that you bleed a little while you are taking your tablets, but this is nothing to worry about, unless you suspect that your bleeding is not caused by you starting your next blister strip early.

If you have diarrhoea, Brevinor may not protect you against pregnancy. In this case, you need to use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days to protect you. It is also best to start your next blister strip without having a 7 day break, if you become ill when there are less than 7 pills left in your current blister strip. However, if you decide to not start your next packet of Brevinor early, consult your doctor about whether you need to use additional forms of contraception for a while to stay protected against pregnancy.

Are there any health risks with Brevinor?

While taking Brevinor, you might experience:You should not be at risk of health problems because of Brevinor as long as you've had a doctor consultation to approve the treatment.

  • Nausea (feeling sick) or stomach upsets.

  • Weight gain.

  • Changes in appetite.

  • Headaches.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Depression.

  • Tender or swollen breasts.

  • Wanting to have sex more or less than usual.

  • Worsening of womb disorders.

  • Irregular periods or breakthrough bleeding.

It is normal for you to experience side effects for the first few weeks of taking a new contraceptive pill, but if you are worried, the symptoms are severe, or they do not go away, then speak with your doctor as soon as you can.

Taking Brevinor can increase your risk of developing certain medical problems if you are already at risk of developing them, for example, blood clots and some types of cancer.

Some people are allergic to the ingredients in Brevinor. If you think you might be having an allergic reaction, call the emergency services (999 or 112) immediately.

Unexpected bleeding (between your periods or after sex, can also be a sign of problems with your cervix (neck of the womb). Therefore if you experience unexpected bleeding you should arrange to see your doctor without delay.

I'm taking Brevinor and I think I’m pregnant, what do I do?

If you did not know you were pregnant, and have been taking Brevinor, it is important that you inform your doctor of this. It is also best to speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have about Brevinor, if you think it may have affected your pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant while you are taking Brevinor, take a pregnancy test and arrange to speak to a doctor as soon as possible, to confirm whether you are pregnant. If you are pregnant, you should stop taking Brevinor.

Taking combined hormonal contraceptives early on in your pregnancy has not been found to cause harm to unborn foetuses. However, if you continue taking your contraceptive, you may be at risk of experiencing complications later on in your pregnancy.

What other contraceptives could I choose?

Intrauterine Contraceptive Device. There are many contraceptives you can choose from, without using combined hormonal contraceptive pills. These include barrier contraceptives, the progesterone-only contraceptive pill (mini pill), intrauterine contraceptive device (coil) and contraceptive implant.

The intrauterine contraceptive device, commonly known as 'the coil' uses Copper to kill sperm and thicken the mucus in the neck of the womb to stop any surviving sperm from entering it. However, this contraceptive often changes your periods, making them heavier, and carries a small risk of infection from the device being inserted. Hormone-free contraceptives, such as the coil, otherwise have very few side-effects, because they do not change the levels of hormones in your body.

Intrauterine Contraceptive System

This is a hormonal type of coil. It releases progesterone and works by thickening cervical mucus, to prevent sperm reaching the egg and keeping the lining of the womb thin, so embryos cannot implant. Most women will have lighter or even no bleeding with this method but there is a small risk of infection when it’s inserted.

Barrier Contraceptives

Barrier methods of contraception do not use hormones, but work by stopping sperm from entering a woman’s womb, and often involve the use of spermicide to kill any sperm in the vagina.

These include:

There are no common side-effects when using barrier methods, unless you are sensitive to the materials or spermicidal lubricants used. Latex is a common material used in male and female condoms, and signs of latex allergy include itching and hives on the skin, and sometimes a stuffy nose or difficulty breathing like having a cold or asthma. An allergy to spermicide can cause irritation of the vagina or penis such as burning, itching or a rash, and can cause a urinary infection. If you believe you are having an allergic reaction to latex or spermicide, it is best to see your doctor. There are also latex-free and spermicide-free male and female condoms available. However, spermicide should be used with diaphragms or caps to kill the sperm before the diaphragm or cap is removed from the vagina.

Contraceptive Implant and Progesterone-only Contraceptive Pill (mini pill)

The contraceptive implant and progesterone-only contraceptive pill (mini pill) each only use progesterone hormone to prevent pregnancy. This is good for women who have an increased risk of blood clotting, because oestrogen is not present, which is the main cause of this risk. However, the absence of oestrogen means that your periods are less likely to be regular, and you are more likely have unexpected vaginal bleeding (spotting) in between your periods. There are also some common side effects of progesterone-only contraceptive products, such as:

  • Temporary loss of bone density is the thinning of your bone, which can occur because of the increase of progesterone in your body. This does not cause an increased risk of bone fractures, unless you already have a medical problem causing low bone density (such as osteoporosis or an eating disorder), in which case you need to seek an alternative contraceptive with from your doctor. Bone density returns to normal after stopping your contraceptive.

  • Acne can be caused by the change in your hormones when using a contraceptive. If this does not settle down after the first few months of taking the contraceptive, your doctor may prescribe an alternative for you to use which does not cause acne.

  • Loss of or heightened sex drive (libido) can have lots of causes, including stress, tiredness, and underlying medical problems. If you feel that a sudden change in your libido is being caused by your contraceptive, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to discuss changing your contraceptive and keeping a diary of how you feel afterwards. It is important that you stay aware of how you are feeling in case there are other reasons why your libido has changed, which you can seek help with from your doctor.

Sources

Ball, M. J., Ashwell, E. and Gillmer, M. D. G. (1991). Progestogen-only oral contraceptives: Comparison of the metabolic effects of levonorgestrel and norethisterone. Contraception, 44(3), pp. 223-233.

Bayer (2017). Package leaflet: Information for the user Microgynon 30. [online] EMC. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/PIL.3440.latest.pdf [Accessed 19 June 2017].

BMJ Group and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (2014). BNF: Combined oral Contraceptives. [online] BNF. Available at: https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/formulary/bnf/current/7-obstetrics-gynaecology-and-urinary-tract-disorders/73-contraceptives/731-combined-hormonal-contraceptives/combined-hormonal-contraceptives/oral-low-and-standard-strength [Accessed 19 June 2017].

British National Formulary (2017). Contraceptives, hormonal. BNF Available at: https://bnf.nice.org.uk [Accessed 19 June 2017].

British National Formulary (2017). Combined hormonal contraceptives. [online] BNF. Available at: https://bnf.nice.org.uk [Accessed 19 June 2017].

Harding, M. (2014). Progestogen-only Contraceptive Pill. [online] Patient.info. Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/progestogen-only-contraceptive-pill-pro [Accessed 19 June 2017].

Havrileskey, L. J. et al (2013). Oral Contraceptive Pills as Prevention for Ovarian Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 122(1), pp. 139-147.

Kahn, L. S. and Halbreich, U. (2001). Oral contraceptive and mood. Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, Vol. 2(9), pp. 1367-1382.

Kovacs, G (1996). Progestogen-only pills and bleeding disturbances. Human Reproduction, 11(2), pp. 20-23.

Kovacs, P. (2012). Commentary: Choosing Oral Contraceptives With Lowest Thrombotic Risk. [online] Medscape. Available at: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/769687 [Accessed 20 June 2017].

Lowth, M. (2014). Intrauterine Contraceptive Device. [online] Patient.info Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/intrauterine-contraceptive-device-pro [Accessed 19 June 2017].

Lowth, M. (2014). Progestogen-only Subdermal Implants. [online] Patient.info. Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/progestogen-only-subdermal-implants [Accessed 19 June 2017].

Ness, R. B., et al and the SHARE study group (2000). Risk of Ovarian Cancer in Relation to Estrogen and progestin Dose and Use Characteristics of Oral Contraceptives. American Journal of Epidemiology, 152(3), pp. 233-241.

Pfizer Limited (2015). Package Leaflet: Information for the User Brevinor 0.5 milligram (mg)/ 35 mircograms (µg) Tablets norethisterone/ethinylestradiol. [online] EMC. Available at: www.medicines.org.uk/emc/PIL.9923.latest.pdf [Accessed 15 June 2017].

Pfizer Limited (2017). Data Sheet: Brevinor 21 Day Tablets, Brevinor-1 21 Day Tablets, Brevinor-1 28 Day Tablets, Norimin 28 Day Tablets. [online] Medsafe. Available at: http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/profs/Datasheet/BrevinorNorimintab.pdf [Accessed 15 June 2017].

Rosenberg, M. J., Meyers, A. and Roy, V. (1999). Efficacy, cycle control, and side effects of low- and lower- dose oral contraceptives: a randomized trial of 20 µg and 35 µg estrogen preparations. Contraception, 60(6), pp. 321-329.
Sitruk-Ware, R. (2004). Pharmacological profile of progestins. Maturitas, 47(4), pp. 277-283.

Van Vliet, H. A. A. M, Grimes, D. A., Helmerhorst, F. M., Schulz, K. F., and Lopez, L. M. (2006). Biphasic versus monophasic oral contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CD002032 (3), DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002032.pub2.

Van Vliet, H. A. A. M, Grimes, D. A., Lopez, L. M., Schulz, K. F., and Helmerhorst, F. M. (2011). Triphasic versus monophasic oral contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CD003553 (11), DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003553.pub3.

Winkler, U. H. (2000). Hemostatic effects of third- and second-generation oral contraceptives: absence of a causal mechanism for a difference in risk of venous thromboembolism. Contraception, 62(2), pp. S11-S20.

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