Femodene is a combined oral contraceptive pill that's up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It contains two synthetic female hormones, ethinylestradiol and gestodene. It's usually taken for 21 days before a seven day break.

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from £14.99

Product details

Femodene is a type of combined oral contraceptive pill used by women to help prevent pregnancy that contains two synthetic female hormones, ethinylestradiol and gestodene.

There are two types of Femodene available that work in the same way and, if used properly, are over 99% effective. You can order Femodene online quickly and reliably through Superdrug Online Doctor.

Dr Louisa Draper

Medically reviewed by

Dr Louisa Draper

Last reviewed: 28 May 2021

Femodene prices

Pack Size Price
30 mcg - 3 x 21 tablet(s) £14.99
30 mcg - 6 x 21 tablet(s) £24.99

How it Works

About Femodene

What is Femodene?

Femodene is a combined oral contraceptive pill that's available as Femodene and Femodene ED. When taken as prescribed, it can be up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, but it can also be taken to treat heavy or painful periods.

Femodene comes in a 21-day pack. So, you take one pill every day for 21 days, followed by a 7-day pill-free break.

Femodene ED is supplied in a 28-day pack, so you take one pill at the same time every day without a break.

Both types of Femodene pills contain the same active ingredients - the man-made versions of the hormones oestrogen (ethinylestradiol) and progesterone (gestodene). As each of these pills has the same amounts of these hormones, they're known as monophasic pills.

How to buy Femodene?

You can order Femodene online with Superdrug Online Doctor and the process is convenient and entirely confidential. Simply:

  • Fill in our short online medical assessment.
  • One of our doctors will review your answers and make sure it is safe and appropriate for you to take Femodene.
  • If it is, we will send Femodene in the post to an address of your choice or you can pick it up from a Superdrug store of your choice.

How much does Femodene cost?

Can you get Femodene over the counter?

Femodene is a prescription-only medication, so you will need a prescription from a doctor before you can get it from a pharmacy.

Can you get Femodene on the NHS?

To get Femodene on the NHS you will need to book an appointment with your GP or with an NHS-partnered sexual health clinic. However, whether they can prescribe it or not will depend on your local guidelines. If they’re unable to, it’s likely you’ll be recommended another treatment instead.

Is Femodene safe?

Femodene is safe for most women to take and is a commonly prescribed combined oral contraceptive pill, but you shouldn’t take it unless a doctor has prescribed it to you.

How does Femodene work?

Femodene works to prevent pregnancy by:

  1. Preventing an egg from being released by the ovaries.
  2. Thickening the fluid at the neck of the womb (cervix), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb.
  3. Stopping the lining of the womb from thickening enough to allow an egg to implant and develop in it.

How long does Femodene take to work?

If you start taking Femodene during the first 5 days of your cycle, it will start working right away, and you will be protected from pregnancy.

If you start taking Femodene after day 5 of your menstrual cycle, then you will not be protected from pregnancy and will need to use another method of contraception, such as condoms for 7 days.

How effective is Femodene?

If taken correctly, Femodene is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, it is likely to be closer to 91% effective if there are other factors such as missing pills, vomiting, diarrhoea and taking other medications which make Femodene less effective.

How to take Femodene?

There are two types of Femodene, Femodene and Femodene ED. Each is taken slightly differently. Femodene is available in strips of 21 tablets and each tablet is marked with the day of the week it should be taken on. To take Femodene:

  • Swallow one tablet whole with water per day for 21 days.
  • You should take each tablet at around the same time every day.
  • Once you have completed the 21 tablets, you will take a 7-day break.
  • On your break, you will get a ‘withdrawal bleed’, like your period.
  • During your 7-day pill free break, you will still be protected from pregnancy if you took all your Femodene pills as instructed in the week before your break.
  • After 7 days, start a new strip. You should start each new strip on the same day every time.

Femodene ED comes in strips of 28 tablets, and you take one tablet every day without a break. (The “ED” stands for “every day”). Each tablet is marked with the day of the week it should be taken on. Each strip contains 21 tablets containing hormones and 7 placebo or dummy tablets, these do not contain any hormones but help you count the days off. When taking Femodene ED you should:

  • Swallow one tablet whole with water each day for 28 days.
  • Try to take each tablet at around the same time every day.
  • During the last 7 days, you will be taking the dummy pills and you should get a ‘withdrawal bleed’ which is like your period.
  • Once you have finished the strip, start a new one straight after.

When should I start taking Femodene?

You can begin taking Femodene at any time during your menstrual cycle but when you start taking it may affect how quickly you are protected from pregnancy. If you start taking Femodene on days 1-5 of your period, then you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. If you start taking it after the first 5 days, you will need to use other forms of protection for the next 7 days.

Can I take Femodene without a break?

Yes, you can take your Femodene pill every day without a break which can help reduce the symptoms associated with periods that are experienced by some women. This will also stop your monthly bleed. Femodene ED contains 7 dummy pills which contain no hormones, so if you want to take Femodene ED back to back you should miss out the dummy or inactive pills and start the active pills in a new strip straight away.

What happens if you miss a Femodene pill?

If you miss one pill or start a new strip a day late, then take the missed pill as soon as you remember even if that means taking two pills in one day or at the same time. You should still be protected from pregnancy so you should not need to use any other form of contraception including the morning after pill. You should continue to take the rest of your strip as normal.

If your strip ends in the next 6 days, then you should skip your 7-day pill free break and continue with the next strip instead.

If it has been more than 12 hours since you missed your pill, then you may not be protected from pregnancy anymore. You should continue to take your pill as normal but should avoid having unprotected sex for 7 days. If you have had unprotected sex since you missed your pill, then you will need to use emergency contraception.

Can I take Femodene to delay my period?

Yes, you can use Femodene to delay or skip your period. If you take Femodene back to back without a week break, then you will skip your monthly bleed. If you are taking Femodene ED, just skip the 7 dummy pills and start a new strip straight away.

Can I use Femodene as emergency contraception?

Femodene cannot be used as emergency contraception.

Femodene side effects

Like all medicines, Femodene can cause side effects, particularly during the first 3 months of taking it but not everyone will experience them. Side effects can include:


  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Headache
  • Sore or tender breasts
  • Low or altered mood
  • Spotting or bleeding between periods for the first few months
  • Weight gain


  • Migraines or severe headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fluid retention
  • Low libido
  • Bigger breasts
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Weight loss
  • Reduced tolerance of contact lenses
  • Chloasma (yellow brown patches on skin)

What should I do if I think I’m getting Femodene side effects?

It is common to experience side effects during the first 3 months of taking Femodene as your body gets used to the hormonal changes. However, they should become more manageable or go away completely after 3 months has passed.

If the side effects do not go away after 3 months or you are finding them too hard to manage, you should speak to your doctor. They may suggest that you stop taking Femodene or prescribe you a different pill that causes fewer side effects.

Does Femodene make your breasts grow?

Yes, a listed side effect of Femodene is enlarged breasts. However, it is an uncommon side effect.

Does Femodene increase your risk of blood clots?

The pill can slightly increase the risk of developing a blood clot, especially in the first year of taking it. Approximately 25 out of 100,000 women who take the pill will have a blood clot in a year.

Does the Femodene pill help acne?

Research has shown that the contraceptive pill can help to improve acne. 69% of reviewers on The Lowdown have stated that Femodene has improved their skin.

Can Femodene make you depressed?

Yes, depressed mood is listed as a potential side effect of taking Femodene.

Can Femodene cause changes to your weight?

Weight gain is listed as a side effect of Femodene. However, weight changes can naturally happen during your menstrual cycle because of factors such as fluid retention which is also a listed side effect.

Does the Femodene pill stop periods?

When you take Femodene, you will have a 7-day pill free break or if you take Femodene ED then you will take placebo pills for 7 days. During this time on either pill, you should have a withdrawal bleed which is like your period.

Can Femodene cause mood swings?

Yes, changes in mood are listed as a potential side effect of taking Femodene.

Can Femodene give you low libido?

Yes, low libido is listed as a side effect of taking Femodene. The pill contains oestrogen which can affect testosterone levels in women. Low testosterone in women can lower your sex drive. However, other side effects associated with taking the pill such as vaginal dryness or irregular periods can affect your desire to have sex.

Who shouldn’t take Femodene?

Femodene isn’t suitable for all women especially those who are unable to take oestrogen. If Femodene or other combined contraceptive pills aren’t right for you, you may need to try the mini-pill, also known as the progesterone-only pill. These do not contain oestrogen and are more suited to women who do not tolerate it.

Drug warnings

You should not take Femodene if you are allergic to any of the ingredients or think you might be pregnant or if you have:

  • or have had cancer of the breast or womb.
  • unexplained vaginal bleeding.
  • or anyone in your family has had blood circulation issues such as a blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart or brain.
  • a condition which increases your risk of a blood clot.
  • sickle cell anaemia or abnormal red blood cells.
  • lipid (blood fat) metabolism disorders.
  • Certain types of liver disease or jaundice
  • You should also mention any other medical conditions to your doctor severe diabetes which affects your blood vessels.

Drug interactions

The following drugs are known to negatively interact with Femodene and can stop it from working properly. You should let your doctor know if you are taking these or any other medications:

  • some epilepsy medicines
  • certain antibiotics
  • griseofulvin (a type of antifungal medicine)
  • barbiturates (certain sedatives)
  • griseofulvin
  • phenylbutazone
  • St. John’s Wort

Femodene risks

Femodene is associated with an increased risk of:

  • Blood clots
  • Breast cancer and possibly cervical cancer

Can I drink while taking Femodene?

Yes, you can drink alcohol while taking Femodene. Alcohol will not make Femodene any less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Can I take painkillers when taking Femodene?

Yes, you can take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen while taking Femodene.

Can I take Femodene when I’m breastfeeding?

You should speak to your doctor before taking Femodene while breastfeeding. Depending on your situation, your doctor may advise that you do not take Femodene while breastfeeding and may suggest an alternative contraception.

Femodene reviews

Femodene is rated 3.5 out of 5 stars by reviewers on The Lowdown. 69% stated that they had better skin and 16% were affected by headaches. 31% of reviewers stated that their moods had been somewhat affected while taking Femodene and 62% had lighter periods. In terms of weight gain, 46% claimed they had gained weight while taking Femodene.


Femodene Package Booklet: Information for The User. (2012) Bayer PLC [Accessed 19 March 2021]

Testosterone and Sexual Desire. (2009) Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynaecology [Accessed 19 March 2021]

Weight Gain on the Combined Pill – Is It Real? (2000) Human Reproduction Update [Accessed 19 March 2021]

Which Birth Control Pills Can Help Reduce Acne? (2013) Informed Health [Accessed 19 March 2021]

Patient Reviews