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Synphase is a combined contraceptive pill that uses different amounts of hormone during the month. This mimics a more natural menstrual cycle and can give you better control and lighter, less painful periods.

If you are already taking Synphase you can order repeat prescriptions for your contraceptive pill online. Follow the link below to start your consulation and one of our doctors will confirm if reordering synphase is right for you.

3 month course £19
6 month course £24

Price include delivery and prescription.

What is Synphase?

Synphase is a combined hormonal contraceptive pill, which means it uses hormones oestrogen and progesterone together to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It has 3 stages during treatment, which use 2 different dosages.

Oestrogen and progesterone hormones naturally occur in women during their menstrual cycle. They control when a woman is able to get pregnant. Synphase changes how much of these hormones are in a woman’s body, to prevent her from becoming pregnant.

Synphase is a biphasic combined hormonal contraceptive. This means that you will be given two types of pill to take in each pill packet, and both types will have different amounts of progesterone in them (500µg and 1000µg). Every tablet will contain the same amount of oestrogen (35µg), it is only the dose of progesterone that will change part way through your menstrual cycle. This is to mimic your body’s natural hormonal changes during each menstrual cycle.

Synphase is sometimes wrongly called a triphasic pill. This is because it uses two different doses over three phases. It starts with 7 blue tablets of 500 µg (micrograms) norethisterone, followed by 9 white tablets of 1 mg (milligrams) norethisterone, and then ends with 5 blue tablets of 500 µg norethisterone. So although there are only two different doses of norethisterone in your pill packet, it is split into three ‘phases’.

The extra progesterone added part way through the treatment cycle allows the lining of your womb to thicken, as it would normally part way through your period cycle. This does not mean you are at more risk of getting pregnant though. You will lose this lining when you bleed during your break, like a normal period.

You must always take your pills as directed by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, and it is best to consult either of these professionals if you are even unsure of how to take your pill. The side-effects produced by each type of pill varies, and some women will be more likely to experience certain side-effects than others. Therefore, if you choose to take any type of combined hormonal contraceptive pills, it is important that you give correction information to a doctor or nurse about any side-effects you experience, either in person or via an online doctor. This will ensure you take a contraceptive that is right for you.

What are the advantages of taking Synphase?

As well as preventing pregnancy. Synphase can have a number of other positive effects on your body.

Synphase can improve acne. This is thought to be because of several effects the hormones in combined hormonal contraceptives have on a woman’s body. Combined hormonal contraceptives reduce the amount of testosterone which freely travels around the bloodstream by 40-50 %. This means that there is less testosterone able to enter the hair follicles, where it would be converted into the dihydrotestosterone hormone, which causes acne.

In addition to this, combined hormonal contraceptives also prevent the testosterone in your hair follicles from being converted into dihydrotestosterone. Although combined hormonal contraceptives can improve acne in women who suffer with this, it is still unclear whether or not they are a better treatment for acne than other acne treatments, like antibiotics.

Other advantages of taking Synphase include:

  • Reduced risk of womb and ovarian cancer.

  • Regulating periods.

  • Reducing heavy bleeding and pain during periods.

  • Fewer side-effects compared to other combined pills, due to lower doses of hormones.

  • A lower increased risk of blood clotting and heart or circulatory problems, due to lower doses of hormones.

Which is best, mono- bi- or triphasic pills?

Biphasic pills like Synphase might be best for you depending on your current health conditions, or if you normally experience side effects on the pill. A doctor consultation will help you decide if Synphase is best.

Biphasic pills that used 2 different dosages are different from monophasic pills, where the dosage remains the same throughout your cycle. This does not mimic your natural menstrual cycle as well. Biphasic pills generally produce fewer side-effects in women who take them. However, it is not clear whether or not this is because of the biphasic effect or because of the lower dose of hormones in biphasic pill packets.

Triphasic pills often have less unexpected vaginal bleeding (spotting) between periods compared to biphasic pills, where this symptom is more common. However, unlike triphasic pills, most biphasic pills contain the the progestin norethindrone. It might be that the norethindrone causes women to experience more spotting, rather than the different number of doses of progestin in biphasic and triphasic pills. However, Synphase does not contain norethindrone, it contains Norethisterone, a slightly different progesterone. Biphasic pills are only available in 21 day packets.

With all combined hormonal contraceptives like Synphase, except quadriphasic, you have a 7 day break from taking your pill (or seven days in which you take placebo pills). During this time, the sudden drop in hormones in your body causes you to have your period. Currently in the UK, Qlaira is the only licensed combined hormonal contraceptive available that only has 2 days off from taking your pill, rather than a 7 day break. This pill is known to be as effective at preventing pregnancy as other combined hormonal contraceptives. It is a newer alternative approach for women who usually suffer from unwanted side-effects during their 7 day break, when using other combined hormonal contraceptive pills.

Occasionally, a phasic pill, like Synphase, might break this pattern and have you take a particular dose of pill more than once in the same pill packet, which means you might start and end your month taking the same dose of pill. This might occur if you are advised by your doctor to start your next pill packet without having a break. This is sometimes advised to stop you from being at risk of pregnancy if you have accidentally missed taking a pill in your current pill packet, or have taken another medication or herbal remedy which stops Synphase from working properly.

Below are some different brands that are currently available to try. They are split into how many phases they have:

Number of phases

Name of combined pill

Only 1 (monophasic) – the dosage of progesterone doesn't changes

Loestrin 20 and 30, Sunya 20, Mercilon, Femodette, Millinette 20 and 30, Ovranette, Levest, YasminFemodeneGedarel 20 and 30, Katya, RigevidonMarvelonMicrogynon 30, CilestNorimin, Norinyl-1, Brevinor, Ovysmen

2 (biphasic) – 2 different dosages of progesterone are used


3 (triphasic) – 3 different dosages of progesterone are used Logynon, TriRegol, Triadene, Trinovum
4 (quadraphasic) – 4 different dosages of progesterone are used Qlaira

All combined hormonal contraceptive pills are known to be very effective at preventing pregnancy, if taken correctly. There is no official advice in the UK for using one type of pill over another, unless you have certain medical problems. Which type of pill you choose will depend on which pill works best for you.

Which is best, mono- bi- or triphasic pills?

When taking Synphase, it is normal to sometimes have irregular periods or bleeding between periods (spotting) after recently starting on this pill. However, you may also bleed less during your period, or have no bleeding during your 7 day break. This is because Synphase allows the lining of your womb to thicken part way through taking your pill packet, which often lightens your period and lessens any discomfort you might usually have during your period.

It is always best to record what changes you have experienced to your periods so that you can tell your doctor or nurse at your next check-up. If you are worried, or think you might be bleeding for reasons other than taking Synphase, always speak to your doctor as soon as possible to get checked for other possible causes.

If you don’t bleed during your 7 day break, it does not mean you are pregnant. However, if you are unsure, or have accidentally missed a pill or taken one late in your pill packet, see your doctor as soon as possible to check for pregnancy. You could also be at risk of pregnancy if you are taking, or have recently taken, any of the medications or herbal remedies which interfere with how well Synphase works.

What other pills are like Synphase?

A biphasic pill which is similar to Synphase is BiNovum. This contains the same active ingredients as Synphase, in the same doses. However, Synphase differs from BiNovum, because BiNovum splits the two different doses of norethisterone over two phases instead of three phases, like Synphase (7 tablets of 500 µg norethisterone, followed by 14 tablets of 1 mg norethisterone).

Number of phases

Name of combined pill

Only 1 (monophasic) – the dosage of progesterone doesn't changes

Loestrin 20 and 30, Brevinor, Ovysmen, Norimin, Norinyl-1

2 (biphasic) – 2 different dosages of progesterone are used


3 (triphasic) – 3 different dosages of progesterone are used Trinovum

The benefits of taking combined hormonal contraceptives, like Synphase, which contain norethisterone include:

  • Helping prevent unexpected bleeding between periods.

  • Reducing heavy bleeding.

  • Reducing pain during periods.

  • Reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as breast pain, headaches, migraines, water retention, and mood swings.

  • Improving endometriosis (where body tissues outside of the womb behave like the womb lining).

Some alternative biphasic pills contain progestin norethindrone or desogestrel, instead of norethisterone. Norethindrone is used to treat endometriosis. However, these pills might make you experience spotting more often. Desogestrel may give some protection against cardiovascular problems when contraceptive pills which contain this are taken for a long time, but this is not known for sure. Biphasic pills which contain norethindrone or desogestrel include:

  • Jenest (norethindrone).

  • Nelova 10/11 (norethindrone).

  • Necon 10/11 (norethindrone).

  • Ortho-Novum 10/11 (norethindrone).

  • Mircette (desogestrel).

What can take Synphase?

You can take Synphase if you have a prescription for it. Regular prescriptions of Synphase are available from your doctor’s surgery (GP), local Contraceptive and Sexual health Clinic (CASH) or online doctor services. However, you will need to discuss your choice of contraception with a doctor or nurse, before obtaining a prescription. This can be done in your doctor’s surgery, or at your local contraceptive and sexual health clinic (CASH). You can dispense any of your prescriptions for Synphase at an in store pharmacy, or repeat prescriptions can be delivered through online doctor services.

It is not recommended for any women over the age of 50 years to take combined hormonal contraceptives. At 50 years of age, it is generally recommended to switch to a non-hormonal, or progesterone-only method of contraception. Therefore, if you wish to continue taking combined hormonal contraceptives above the age of 50 years, you must speak to your doctor or nurse for advice.

Do not take Synphase if you:

  • Have had cancer of the cervix, vagina, womb or breast.

  • Have or have had hepatitis C, and are taking medicinal products containing ombitasvir, paritaprevir, ritonavir and/or dasabuvir.

  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients in Synphase (norethisterone, ethinyl estradiol, maize starch, polyvidone, lactose, colouring E132 (blue pills only), and magnesium stearate).

  • Have a family history of blood clotting disorders or blood clots.

  • Have had blood clots anywhere in your body, particularly your veins, legs, lungs or brain.

  • Have had a heart attack or stroke.

  • Currently or previously have had angina.

  • Have or have had high levels of fats in your blood (hyperlipidaemia).

  • Have or have had a disorder of body fats.

  • Any of the following during pregnancy: pruritus, jaundice, yellowing of your skin without a known cause, or pemphigoid gestationis (previously known as herpes gestationis).

  • Severe chronic liver disease or liver tumours.

  • Vaginal bleeding with no known cause.

  • Bad migraines.

  • Are pregnant, or think you might be pregnant.

  • Are currently breastfeeding (the oestrogen in Synphase can reduce your supply of breast milk).

  • Have given birth less than 21 days ago.

  • Have undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Synphase might not be safe for you to take if you have another medical problem. Therefore, it is important that you check with your doctor or nurse if it is okay for you to take Synphase if you have:

  • Irregular periods.

  • Any problems with your breasts.

  • Migraines.

  • Frequent headaches.

  • Either sudden or slow visual disturbances, such as losing some or all of your sight.

  • Diabetes.

  • Asthma.

  • Severe depression.

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

  • Varicose veins (twisted or enlarged vein(s), usually in your leg).

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

  • Any disease which tends to get worse during pregnancy.

  • Fibroids in your uterus.

  • 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.

Some medicines or herbal remedies you take can stop Synphase from working properly, which would put you at risk of becoming pregnant after having sex. It is best to 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.

Does Synphase have any side effects?

It is common for women to experience side effects for the first few weeks of taking a new contraceptive pill, and most of the time they are nothing to worry about. However, if you are worried, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

While taking Synphase, you might experience:

  • Nausea (feeling sick) or stomach upsets.

  • Weight gain.

  • Sudden changes in appetite.

  • Changes in the way your body breaks down sugars, fats or vitamins.

  • 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.

If you experience any side-effects, you can report them directly to the yellow card scheme. This helps provide more information to improve the safety of this medication, and you may report side-effects which aren’t listed here, or in the leaflet accompanying this medication.

Yellow Card Scheme website:

As with other combined hormonal contraceptives, your risk of developing breast cancer increases slightly when taking Synphase. Therefore it is important that you have regular reviews with a doctor or nurse regarding taking Synphase, and that you make them aware of any risks you may already have for developing breast cancer.

Sometimes unexpected vaginal bleeding can be a sign of an infection in your womb or vagina. Signs of a vaginal infection (bacterial vaginosis) may include:

  • Pain (especially after having sex).

  • Itching.

  • Pain when urinating.

  • A foul-smelling “fishy” vaginal discharge which may be thin, grey, white or green in colour.

  • If you think that your bleeding may be due to an infection, arrange to see your doctor without delay.

  • Abnormal bleeding can also be due to abnormalities or the womb or cervix (neck of the womb) and so you should always discuss this with your doctor or nurse.

When taking any combined hormonal contraceptives, there is an increased risk of developing blood clots. To ensure Synphase is safe for you to take, speak with your doctor or nurse about your health and family history before choosing your contraceptive, to ensure Synphase is okay for you to take. This increased risk of blood clots tends to only be an issue for women who are already at risk of forming blood clots, such as:

  • Smoking (or having stopped smoking in the past year).

  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol.

  • Being immobile (such as after having an operation).

  • Having diabetes.

  • Having high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

  • Having a family history of blood clots.

  • Having had a previous blood clot.

Speak to your doctor urgently if you:

  • Experience ongoing dizziness.

  • Have sudden and unusually severe headaches which you don’t normally have.

  • Have your first migraine (very painful headache with sickness and sometimes blurred or distorted vision).

  • Have migraines which become worse than is normal for you.

  • Have a migraine where your vision becomes distorted, your lose part or all of your sight, you see things which aren’t there, your body feels weak, or you feel unusual sensations in your limbs.

  • Develop chest pains, difficulty breathing or coughing up blood.

  • Develop pain or swelling in one leg.

Some people are allergic to the ingredients in Synphase (norethisterone, ethinyl estradiol, maize starch, polyvidone, lactose, colouring E132 (blue pills only), and magnesium stearate).

If you think you might be having an allergic reaction, call the emergency services (999 or 112) immediately. Some signs that you are having an allergic reaction include:

  • Sudden swellings appearing on your skin, particularly around your lips, face, tongue, throat or face.

  • Suddenly developing a rash or itching, particularly if it affects your whole body.

  • Finding it hard to breathe.

  • Sudden wheeziness.

  • Sudden nasal congestion.

  • Chest pains.

  • Fever.

  • Light headedness or dizziness.

  • Passing out.

  • Suddenly developing a pale skin colour.

  • Blueness around the lips.

Seek emergency medical help from your nearest hospital if you:

  • Have signs of a stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (temporary stroke symptoms).

  • Have signs of breathing problems.

  • Have signs of circulatory problems (such as fainting).

  • Have painful or inflamed veins in your legs, or signs of having a blood clot.

  • Have signs of neurological problems, such as:

    • Unusual sensations in your body.

    • Distorted vision.

    • Seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting things which aren’t there.

    • Trouble speaking or moving your body.

  • Suddenly become short of breath.

  • Have a seizure.

  • Cough up blood.

  • Have swelling or tenderness in your stomach.

  • Find breathing painful.

  • Have a sudden sharp pain in your chest.

  • Pass out.


Actavis (2016). Norethisterone 5 mg tablets. [online] EMC. Available at: [Accessed 7th July 2017].

Arowojolu, A. O., Gallo, M. F., Lopez, L. M., Grimes, D. A. and Garner, S. E. (2011). Cochrane Review: Combined oral contraceptive pills for treatment of acne. Evidence-Based Child Health, 6, pp. 1340- 1433.

BMJ Group and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (2014). BNF: Combined oral Contraceptives. [online] NICE. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

British National Formulary (BNF) (May 2017). Contraceptives, hormonal. NICE Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

British National Formulary (BNF) (2017). Combined hormonal contraceptives. [online] NICE. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

Cedars, M. I. (2002). Triphasic oral contraceptives: review and comparison of various regimens. Fertility and Sterility, 77(1), pp. 1-14.

Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Clinical Guidance (FSRH) (2010). Contraception for Women Aged Over 40 years. [online] FSRH. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare Clinical Guidance (FSRH) (2012). Combined Hormonal Contraception. [online] FSRH. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

UKMEC (2016). UK Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use. [online] FSRH. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

Hale, R. W. (1987). Phasic approach to oral contraceptives. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 157(4), pp. 1052-8.

Harding, M. (2014). Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (First Prescription). [online] Patient.Info. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

Harding, M. (2017). Contraception from 40 to the Menopause. [online] Patient.Info. Available at: [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

Lobo, R. A. et al. (1996). Plasma lipids and desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol: a meta-analysis. Fertility and Sterility, 65(6), pp. 1100-1109.

Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) (2016). Contraception - combined hormonal methods. [online] NICE. Available at:!scenario [Accessed 3rd July 2017].

Pfizer Limited and Piramal Healthcare UK Limited (2017). Synphase 500 microgram/ 35 microgram tablets and 1 milligram/ 35 microgram tablets norethisterone/ ethinylestradiol. [online] EMC. Available at: [Accessed 4th July 2017]. 

Surrey, E. S. and Judd, H. L. (1992). Reduction of vasomotor symptoms and bone density loss with combined norethindrone and long- acting gonadotropin- releasing hormone agonist therapy of symptomatic endometriosis: a prospective randomized trial. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 75(2), pp. 558-563.

Van Vilet, H. A. A. M., Grimes, D. A., Helmerhorst, F. M., and Schulz, K. F. (2002). Biphasic versus monophasic oral contraceptives for contraception: a Cochrane review. Human Reproduction, 17(4), pp. 870-873.

Van Vilet, H. A. A. M., Grimes, D. A., Helmerhorst, F. M., Schulz, K. F., and Lopez, L.M. (2006). Birth control pills with two phases versus three phases. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, CD003283(3), DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003283.pub2.

Van Vilet, H. A. A. M. et al. (2011). Triphasic versus monophasic oral contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, CD003553(11), DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003553.pub3.

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