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Hana

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Hana is one of the first contraceptive pills available over the counter in the UK.

It is a mini pill, which means it only contains progesterone. This makes Hana a good choice for women who cannot take combined contraceptive pills, such as women who have high blood pressure, are over 35 and smoke, or are overweight.


Order Hana Contraceptive Pill

To place an order, fill in a brief questionnaire. One of our doctors will review your order and prescribe a suitable treatment.


1 month pack £8.95
3 month pack £19.75
6 month pack £38.95

In a hurry? Choose Click and Collect and pick up your order after just 4 hours from a Superdrug Pharmacy.

Delivery options

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You will choose your delivery option at the checkout. Delivery options may vary depending on the pack size and dosage chosen.

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Hana Contraceptive Pill

Hana is available over the counter at most UK pharmacies without needing a prescription from your doctor. However, before you can buy it, you will need to complete an assessment with a pharmacist to make sure it is safe for you.

You can also buy Hana conveniently and discreetly online from Superdrug Online Doctor. And, all you will have to do is:

  • Fill in a brief confidential questionnaire on our site. This is similar to the pharmacist’s assessment you would complete in a pharmacy.
  • Our doctors will then review your answers and make sure for you to take Hana.
  • We will then send Hana to an address of your choice as a discreet package through the post, or you can ‘Click & Collect’ it from your local Superdrug pharmacy.
  • At any point, you can message our doctors for advice.

Note that Click & Collect locations may be limited during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

If you are using a website to buy medication, use the Government’s online checker to check that the site is licensed.

Hana is available over the counter because the UK medicines regulator, the MHRA, found this pill to be safe when prescribed by a pharmacist, rather than needing a prescription from a doctor. The pharmacist will still need to go through an in-store assessment to make sure that Hana is safe for you before you can buy the pill from a pharmacy. 

This does not mean that other mini pills are not as safe or effective as Hana. Some mini pills, such as Cerelle and Cerazette, contain the same ingredients and work in exactly the same way. However, these medications have not been reclassified by the MHRA, so you can’t get those pills without a prescription from a doctor.

Hana contains the same ingredients, in the same amounts, as popular mini pills, such as Cerelle and Cerazette. This means that it works in the exact same way, and is just as effective. The only difference is that Hana is available over the counter.

Other mini pills, such as  Norgeston and Noriday, contain a different type of progesterone. While these pills work in the same way, women may find that a certain type works better for them, such as causing fewer or different side effects.

Some women find that combined contraceptive pills, which contain both progesterone and oestrogen, work better for them. Combined pills can be a better choice for women who suffer from painful period cramps, or want more regular periods. Some combined pills can also help with your skin, such as clearing up acne.

Popular combined contraceptive pills include:

See our full list of contraceptive pills

Hana is a mini pill which contains 75mg of desogestrel, which is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. The pill works by releasing this hormone into your body, which prevents pregnancy by:

  • Stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg
  • Increasing the thickness of the fluid around the neck of the womb, so it is harder for sperm to reach the egg 
  • Reducing the lining of the womb, so it is harder for a fertilised egg to implant itself

How long does Hana take to work?

Hana starts working straight away if you start taking it in the first 5 days of your period. This means that you are protected from pregnancy, and won’t need to use additional methods of contraception, such as condoms, to stop you from getting pregnant.

If you start taking Hana at any other point in your cycle then it will take a few days to start working. You should use additional contraception for the next 2 days as you will not be protected from pregnancy right away.

How effective is Hana?

Hana is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. However, certain factors, such as missing pills, becoming ill with vomiting or diarrhoea, or taking other medications that interact with Hana, might make it less effective. When taking these factors into account, Hana is around 91% effective in practice. This is similar to other contraceptive pills.

Hana comes in strips of 28 tablets. Each tablet is marked with the day of the week it should be taken on. 

  • Swallow one tablet whole with water at the same time each day, starting with the appropriate day on the strip’s top line.
  • Start a new strip after 28 days, on the same day of the week each time.
  • It is common for your periods to stop when taking Hana. This is not a cause of concern.
  • If you forget to take Hana at your usual time, but it is less than 12 hours later, then you should take it immediately. If it is more than 12 hours after you usually take it, you must treat it as though you have missed a pill.

When should I start taking Hana?

You can start taking Hana at any point in your menstrual cycle, and when you start taking it will not change how effective it is. However, you may not be protected straight away if you take it at certain times in your cycle.

If you want to be protected from pregnancy straight away, you should start taking Hana in the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle. If you take it after the first 5 days of your cycle you won’t be protected immediately, and you will have to use additional protection, such as condoms, for the next 2 days.

You should start taking Hana the same day the ring, coil or patch is removed then you do not need to use another form of contraception.

What happens if I miss my Hana pill?

If you miss taking your pill at the usual time, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s within 12 hours of the usual time you take your pill, you will not need to use any additional contraception and you will not need an emergency contraceptive.

If you miss your pill by more than 12 hours of your usual time, you should take your next pill as normal, even if it means taking 2 pills on the same day or at the same time. You will also need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for the next 48 hours. If you have unprotected sex during this time, you’ll need to use emergency contraception as you won’t be protected from pregnancy.

If you use emergency contraception that contains levonorgestrel, such as Levonelle, Hana can be restarted on the same day. You will need to use additional forms of contraception for the next 7 days, as Hana won’t be fully effective.

If you use emergency contraception that contains ulipristal acetate, such as EllaOne, you will need to wait 5 days before restarting Hana. During the time, and for 7 days afterwards (12 days total), you will need to use other contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.

What should I do if I am sick or have diarrhoea after taking Hana?

If you vomit within 4 hours of taking your tablet, or you have severe diarrhoea after taking the pill, you should treat it like you’ve missed a pill. 

Can I take Hana to delay my period?

No, Hana is a progesterone-only pill, so it cannot be used to delay your period. Period delay tablets, such as Utovlan, are the best way to delay your period, but you can also take combined contraceptive pills back to back instead of taking your 7 day break. 

Can I use Hana as emergency contraception?

No, Hana can’t be used as an emergency contraceptive. If you have had unprotected sex, or the protection you used failed, you should use emergency contraception such as Levonelle (effective for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex) or EllaOne (effective for up to 120 hours after unprotected sex) or intrauterine device (coil).

Can I take Hana if I am breastfeeding?

Yes, you can take Hana if you are currently breastfeeding. Clinical trials have shown that Hana, and other contraceptive pills, do not affect the quality or quantity of the breast milk that you produce. There is no evidence that it will have an impact on your baby. However, if you are concerned, you should talk to your doctor.

Can I drink while taking Hana?

Yes, alcohol does not make Hana any less effective, and doesn’t cause additional or worse side effects. However, drinking alcohol can make it more likely that you will forget your pill, and drinking excessively may cause you to become sick which can make the pill less effective. 

Can I take painkillers when taking Hana?

Yes, painkillers do not interact with Hana. Taking painkillers will not cause any additional, or worse, side effects and it will not make the pill any less effective.


Yes, studies have shown that Hana is a safe and effective contraceptive for most women, which is why it is available to buy over the counter. There is no evidence that Hana is any less safe to take than other mini pills.

Like all medications, Hana may cause side effects in some women. Side effects are most likely to occur in the first 3 months of taking Hana, as your body gets used to the hormonal changes caused by the pill. If you get side effects that don’t go away after 3 months, or you find them too difficult to deal with, talk to your GP or contact one of our doctors.

Common side effects reported by women taking Hana include:

  • acne
  • mood changes
  • breast pain
  • headaches
  • nausea 
  • weight increase
Uncommon side effects include:

  • vaginal infections
  • contact lens intolerance
  • alopecia
  • ovarian cyst
  • Fatigue
  • breast discharge
Rare side effects include:
  • hives
  • rash
  • painful blue-red skin lumps 

How will Hana affect my periods?

When you start taking a mini pill, like Hana, one common side effect is experiencing changes to bleeding. This includes making your period lighter, heavier, more frequent or less frequent. These changes usually stop after 3 months of taking it.

How will Hana affect my skin?

Progesterone, the active ingredient in Hana, can cause an increase in sebum production, the oily substance which helps protect the skin and can cause acne. This means some women find that taking Hana makes their acne worse.

How will Hana affect my sex drive?

Hana causes hormonal changes, which can have an effect on your sex drive. These changes effect women differently, so some women may see their sex drive increase, while others may have a lower sex drive after taking the pill. Most women will not see an impact on their sex drive. If you think taking Hana is negatively impacting your sex life, you should talk to your GP or pharmacist.

Does Hana cause bloating or weight gain?

Despite weight gain and bloating being commonly reported side effects of the contraceptive pill, there is no scientific evidence that it causes long-term changes to your weight or directly causes bloating.

Can Hana cause headaches?

Yes, Hana can cause headaches because it is a type of hormonal contraception. Hormonal contraceptives cause changes in your body, which can trigger headaches.

If you do get headaches after taking Hana, they will usually go away on their own as your body gets used to the hormonal changes caused by the pill. If you continue to get headaches after 3 months, or are unable to deal with them, you should contact your GP.

Can Hana cause high blood pressure?

No, progesterone-only pills like Hana do not cause high blood pressure. Progesterone-only pills are commonly prescribed to women with high blood pressure because of this, as they are more suitable than contraceptive pills that contain oestrogen (combined oral contraceptives).

Does Hana cause hair loss?

Hormonal changes caused by taking contraceptive pills, such as Hana, can cause hair loss. This is not a common side effect of the pill, and if it does occur it is usually a temporary side effect while your body adjusts to these changes. If you continue to see hair loss after 3 months, or are concerned about the amount of hair you are losing, you should speak with your GP.

You should not take Hana if any of the following apply to you:

  • think you might be pregnant
  • have unexplained vaginal bleeding 
  • are taking other medicines that might affect it
  • have arterial disease, heart disease or have had a stroke
  • have liver disease, severe cirrhosis or liver tumours
  • have or have had breast cancer
  • have a thrombosis 
  • are allergic to desogestrel, or any of the other ingredients of Hana 
In this case, the doctor or pharmacist may suggest you try a mini pill that contains a different type of progesterone, such as Norgeston or Noriday. Some women may also see better results on combined contraceptive pills, as oestrogen can make bleeding more regular. 

If you have any of the following conditions, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist as there can be increased risks associated with taking Hana:

  • have ever had breast cancer
  • have liver cancer
  • have ever had a thrombosis
  • have diabetes
  • suffer from epilepsy 
  • have tuberculosis 
  • have high blood pressure
  • have or have had chloasma (yellowish-brown pigmentation patches on the skin, particularly of the face)
Some medicines and herbal supplements can make Hana less effective. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist what other medications or supplements you are taking or if you plan to start taking them after starting the pill. 
Taking Hana slightly increases your risk of certain conditions.You should discuss these risks with your GP or pharmacist, but many women find that the benefits of taking the mini pill outweigh these risks.
  • Ovarian cysts: some women develop fluid-filled cysts on their ovaries which generally disappear without treatment. 
  • Breast and cervical cancers: research is ongoing into the link between the mini pill and breast and cervical cancers, but recent research indicates that the risk is very small and disappears with time after you stop taking it. 
Public Consultation on Hana 75 mcg Gov.uk [accessed 31 March 2021]
The Progestogen-Only Pill NHS [accessed 31 March 2021]
Contraception - progestogen-only methods NICE [accessed 31 March 2021]
Birth control and hair loss Healthline [accessed 31 March 2021]

About Online Doctor

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Reviewed by: Dr Babak Ashrafi in line with the Superdrug Online Editorial Process.

GMC no. 6077866

Dr Ashrafi studied at King’s College London and specialises in cardiology, diabetes, and stroke medicine.

Last reviewed on: 20/04/21