Lovima is a Contraceptive pill, now available to buy without a prescription
Lovima is an oral contraceptive brand that contains desogestrel. Desogestrel has been previously available for women on prescription. Lovima enables women to buy a contraceptive pill from the pharmacy, by consulting with a pharmacist. You don’t need to make an appointment to see your doctor or family planning clinic to get a prescription. Lovima is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, provided you take it at the same time each day from the start of your menstrual cycle.
Lovima contains 75 micrograms of the progestogen desogestrel in every tablet. This is known as a progestogen-only pill (POP), but you may know it better as the ‘mini-pill’.
Lovima is a new brand of desogestrel contraception pill that is now available to buy without a prescription, following a consultation with a pharmacist. Desogestrel has previously only been available for women on prescription. It is as effective in preventing pregnancy as prescription-only combination contraceptive pills (containing oestrogen and progestogen together), when used correctly.
With Lovima, you can now buy a contraceptive pill from your pharmacy, without seeing your GP for a prescription. It is more effective than using a condom, to prevent 99% of pregnancies if used correctly.
With Lovima, you should take one tablet each day at the same time without a break between each pack. This means you can take one tablet every day until the Lovima packet is empty, then start a new packet with no break. You don’t need to wait a week to allow for bleeding as you may find you experience irregular bleeding outside your monthly period cycle or even no period bleeding at all. If you are worried about your bleeding pattern, speak to your pharmacist.
In contrast to the combined pill (containing both oestrogen and progestogen), Lovima can be used by women who are breastfeeding, subject to a pharmacy consultation.
No blood pressure check is required before taking Lovima, although your pharmacist may be able to take your blood pressure if you are interested. Lovima may be taken whilst breastfeeding which may not be possible with other contraceptive pills. Your pharmacist will check if Lovima is suitable for you.
With Lovima, you’re in charge of your contraception choice.
Lovima contains the progestogen desogestrel, which works in two ways to prevent pregnancy:
- It helps prevent you ovulating – this is when an egg is released from your ovaries around the middle of your menstrual cycle. If there is no egg, there is nothing for sperm to fertilise, which means a pregnancy is avoided
- It thickens your cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to get through and reach any eggs that may have been released.
This dual action means Lovima is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly.
Lovima is suitable for women of childbearing age, following a consultation with a pharmacist. That means any age from starting your first period, all the way through to having gone through menopause. Your pharmacist will go through some questions to make sure Lovima is right for you.
You may even be able to take Lovima if you:
- have just had a baby
- are breastfeeding
- have migraines
- are over 35 years and smoke
- are overweight
You should not take Lovima if you:
- are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
- have a thrombosis (a blood clot)
- have or have ever had jaundice or severe liver disease
- have or think you might have a cancer that is sensitive to sex steroids (e.g. some forms of breast cancer)
- have any unexplained vaginal bleeding
- are allergic to soya, peanut, lactose or any of the ingredients in Lovima.
If you want to find out more information about who can take Lovima you should talk to your pharmacist.
Take one Lovima tablet at the same time every day, so that you have 24 hours between each dose. Take one tablet every day until the Lovima packet is empty, then start a new packet with no break. You don’t need to wait a week to allow for bleeding and you may find your periods become lighter, less frequent, less regular or can stop all together.
You can take your Lovima tablet with or without food (on an empty stomach), but it is best to just swallow the tablet whole, don’t crush or chew. Taking with water can make it easier to swallow.
To remind you to take Lovima at the same time every day, it helps to make this a routine, so try and tie it in to something that you do at the same time every day. You could you take it every morning or night, or take it with a specific meal, whatever works best for you. You could also use an electronic calendar, alarm clock or electronic device to remind you.
Although you can start Lovima on day 2-5 of your cycle, you will need to use additional contraception for 7 days to help keep you protected against pregnancy.
How long Lovima takes to work depends on which day of your period you started Lovima and if you are switching from any other contraceptive.
If you start Lovima on the first day of your period
You do not need to use an additional barrier contraception method (e.g. condom) to protect you from pregnancy.
If you start Lovima after the first day of your period
You can start Lovima on days 2-5 of your period, but you will need to use additional barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of taking Lovima.
If you switch from another hormonal contraception to Lovima
If you are switching from another contraception pill (for example a combined pill that contains oestrogen and progesterone), start taking Lovima the next day after you take you last active pill. You do not need to use additional contraception to protect yourself from pregnancy.
If you are switching from a patch, vagina ring, implant or IUS, then start taking Lovima on the day your patch, vaginal ring, implant or IUS is removed. You don’t not need to use additional contraception to protect you from pregnancy.
If there is a break since you last stopped your previous type of hormonal contraception, before starting Lovima, you will need to use a barrier method, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of taking Lovima to protect you from pregnancy.
If you have taken emergency hormonal contraception before using Lovima
This depends on the type of emergency hormonal contraception you have taken:
If you have taken levonorgestrel (the brand name Levonelle) you can start Lovima straight away but you will need to either abstain from sex or use barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of taking Lovima to protect you from pregnancy.
If you have taken ulipristal (the brand name ellaOne), you should wait 5 days before taking Lovima. To prevent pregnancy, use additional contraception (either abstaining from sex or using barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms) for these 5 days PLUS an additional 7 days after starting Lovima.
For more information check the Patient Information Leaflet in your Lovima packet or ask your pharmacist for advice.
Lovima is clinically proven to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, provided you take it at the same time each day from the start of your menstrual cycle.
There may be times when you need to take additional contraceptive measures to prevent pregnancy when taking Lovima, such as:
Take the missed pill as soon as you remember and take the next pill at the usual time. Lovima will still protect you from pregnancy.
If you are more than 12 hours late
If you are more than 12 hours late in taking any pill, you may not be completely protected against pregnancy. The more consecutive pills you have missed, the higher the risk that you might fall pregnant.
Take a pill as soon as you remember and take the next one at the usual time. This may mean taking two pills in one day. This is not harmful. (If you have forgotten more than one pill, you don’t need to take the earlier missed ones.) Continue to take your pills as usual but you must also use additional barrier contraception (condom) for the next 7 days.
If you are more than 12 hours late taking your pill and have sex, consult your pharmacist for advice.
Missing pills at any time in the cycle can reduce the efficacy of Lovima and risk pregnancy but if you have missed one or more pills in the first week of taking Lovima and had sex in the week before missing the pill, the risk that you may get pregnant is higher. Ask your pharmacist for advice and if you need to use emergency contraception.
For more information check the Patient Information Leaflet in your Lovima packet and ask your pharmacist for advice.
If you vomit within 3 to 4 hours of taking Lovima, then the tablet is considered missed. If you have severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhoea, Lovima may not have been completely absorbed and the contraception effect may be reduced. You should use an additional method of contraception (for example barrier methods such as condoms) for the duration of your illness and for the first 7 days of normal tablet taking.
If you are not sure what to do, talk to your pharmacist.
Follow the advice for forgotten tablets (missed a pill) section in the patient information leaflet you have in your pack.
If you feel nauseous after taking Lovima
If you feel nauseous but don’t vomit or have diarrhoea, you don’t need to worry. Just carry on taking Lovima as normal to prevent pregnancy. If you continue to feel unwell, speak to your pharmacist or doctor.
Most antibiotics can be taken with Lovima without increasing the chances of pregnancy.
However there are a handful of antibiotics that are used to treat bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis, that interact with Lovima and you may need to use additional methods of contraception, such as condoms, for the time you are taking it for and for up to 28 days after you have stopped.
Tell your pharmacist, doctor or family planning nurse if you are taking, have taken or might take any other medicines or herbal products. Also tell any other doctor or dentist who prescribes another medicine for you that you take Lovima.
Check the Lovima Patient Information Leaflet for what medication interacts with Lovima. If you are unsure if Lovima interacts with, ask your pharmacist.
If you discover you are pregnant when taking Lovima, stop taking straight away and talk to your doctor.
Yes, you can switch from any another method of contraception to Lovima following a consultation with a pharmacist.
If you are switching from another contraception pill (for example the combined pill that contains oestrogen and progesterone), start taking Lovima the next day after you take you last active pill. You do not need to use additional contraception to protect yourself from pregnancy.
If you are switching from a patch, vagina ring, implant or IUS, then start taking Lovima on the day your patch, vaginal ring, implant or IUS is removed. You don not need to use additional contraception to protect you from pregnancy.
If there is a break since you last stopped your previous type of hormonal contraception before starting Lovima, you will need to use a barrier method, such as condoms, for the first 7 days of taking Lovima to protect you from pregnancy.
If you are switching from barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms or diaphragms, if you take Lovima from the first day of your period, you do not need to use additional contraception to protect you from pregnancy. If you start Lovima on days 2-5 of your period, you will need to carry on using your barrier methods of contraception for another 7 days to protect you from pregnancy.
You can also start taking Lovima immediately after using emergency contraception that contains levonorgestrel but additional methods of contraception should be used for at least the first 7 days. See How long does it take to work section if you have taken ulipristal acetate (a type of emergency contraception).
Do not take Lovima if you have a cancer that grows under the influence of sex steroids, such as breast cancer. If you have ever had liver cancer or breast cancer, speak to your doctor before using Lovima.
Like most medicines, Lovima can cause some side effects, although not everybody gets them. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you notice any unwanted side effects, especially if severe or persistent. Please see the Patient Information Leaflet for detailed information on the side effects, including the most common side effects:
- Breast pain
- Changes in mood and depressed mood
- Irregular or no periods – irregular periods are the most common side effect of Lovima
- Sex drive reduction
- Weight gain
You may have some vaginal bleeding during the use of Lovima, but you must continue to take your pills as normal.
You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
MHRA Yellow Card also available in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
See Patient Information Leaflet for further information.
Up to one in ten (1 in 10) women may experience weight gain when taking Lovima.
Up to one in ten (1 in 10) women may experience more acne when taking Lovima.
Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children.
Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the carton after EXP. The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
You can stop taking Lovima whenever you want. From the day you stop, you are no longer protected against pregnancy.
If you still want to help avoid pregnancy, then you should use other methods of contraception, e.g. barrier methods such as condoms. Alternatively speak to your pharmacist, family planning nurse or doctor about other contraceptive options that may be right for you.
The launch of Lovima means, if you are a woman of childbearing age and suitable, you can now buy a contraceptive pill from your pharmacy. With Lovima, you don’t need to make an appointment to see your doctor or family planning clinic or get a prescription.
If you want to get Lovima, all you need to do is visit your local pharmacy or buy online here. A pharmacist will ask some questions to make sure Lovima is the right oral contraception for you. You do not need to get your blood pressure checked, but you can request it from your pharmacist if the service is available.
Complete the Lovima Checklist before you go in-store to aid a discussion with your pharmacist.
Once completed this could be printed or added to your phone to take with you to help the conversation with your pharmacist.