An alternative to Cilest
Lizinna is a combined oral contraceptive pill that you take daily to prevent pregnancy or help with painful periods. You must have a prescription from a doctor to buy Lizinna.
To place an order, fill in a brief questionnaire. One of our doctors will review your order and prescribe a suitable treatment.
|3 months (63 tablets)||£25.00|
|6 months (126 tablets)||£35.00|
Prices include prescription and delivery.
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Lizinna is a combined oral contraceptive pill taken daily to prevent pregnancy, but it can also be used to treat heavy or painful periods.
Lizinna contains synthetic versions of the female hormones oestrogen (35mcg of ethinylestradiol) and progesterone (250mcg of norgestimate).
Is Lizinna the same as Cilest?
Lizinna has the same active ingredients as Cilest, so it works in precisely the same way. Cilest has been discontinued by its manufacturer, and our doctors recommend Lizinna as an alternative.
You currently need a prescription to buy Lizinna, but you can get a prescription and buy it online from a registered online doctor such as Superdrug Online Doctor, even if you haven’t had a prescription for it before.
- Complete the short online questionnaire.
- One of our doctors will review your answers and make sure it's safe for you to take Lizinna.
- Once your prescription is confirmed, you can buy Lizinna.
- You can either collect it from a Superdrug store of your choice or have it sent to your home in a discreet unmarked package.
Note that some ‘click and collect’ locations may be impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. You will be advised of this when you place your order.
To check if a site is licensed to sell medication, use the Government’s online checker.
Can you get Lizinna over the counter?
No. Lizinna is a prescription-only medication, which means you need a prescription from a doctor before you can get it from a pharmacy.
Can you get Lizinna on the NHS?
Whether or not you can get Lizinna on the NHS depends on the local guidelines in your area. Talk to your GP or to your local NHS sexual health clinic to find out more.
Yes. If you have been prescribed Lizinna, then it is safe for you to take. All medications can have potential side-effects, but your doctor will advise you about these.
Lizinna is a commonly prescribed contraceptive pill in the UK which many women take. It has the same risk factors as other combined oral contraceptive pills.
By releasing and regulating the artificial hormones ethinylestradiol and norgestimate, Lizinna:
- Stops ovulation, so you do not release an egg each month.
- Increases the thickness of the fluid around the neck of the womb, so it is harder for sperm to reach an egg.
- Reduces the lining of the womb, so it is harder for a fertilised egg to implant.
How long does Lizinna take to work?
If you start taking Lizinna on days 1 to 5 of your period, you will have immediate protection from pregnancy.
If you start taking Lizinna at any other point in your menstrual cycle, you will need to use additional protection for 7 days.
How effective is Lizinna?
Lizinna is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. In reality, this figure is closer to 91% because people miss taking their pill and because other medications or having sickness or diarrhoea can impact how well your body absorbs the hormones.
It’s important to remember that no contraceptive pill protects you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so if you want to protect yourself from STIs and pregnancy, you will also need to use a condom when you have sex.
Lizinna comes in strips of 21 tablets. Each tablet is marked with a day of the week:
- Take your first tablet on the correct day of the week that’s marked on the top of the strip.
- Take each tablet whole with water at the same time each day.
- When you reach the end of the packet and have taken all 21 pills, you take a break for 7 days.
- During the 7 days, you will get a ‘withdrawal bleed’, which is similar to your period.
- After 7 days, you start a new strip of tablets.
- Start the strip on the same day each time.
As long as you have taken Lizinna correctly all month you are protected from pregnancy, even during the 7-day break.
When should I start taking Lizinna?
You can start taking Lizinna at any time in your menstrual cycle but, depending on when you take it, you may not be protected from pregnancy straight away.
- If you start taking Lizinna on day 1 to 5 of your period, it starts working immediately, so you won’t need to use other contraceptives like condoms to protect from pregnancy.
- If you start taking it at any other point, you will need to use additional protection for the next 7 days.
Can I take Lizinna without a break?
Yes, you can take Lizinna every day without the 7-day break, and some women find this helps reduce some of the symptoms associated with having a period. Talk to your doctor if you’re considering taking this approach.
What happens if you miss a Lizinna pill?
What you need to do when you miss a pill depends on how many you have missed.
If you have missed one pill or start your new strip a day late:
- Take the missed pill, even if this means taking two pills at once.
- Continue taking the strip as usual.
- You will be protected from pregnancy.
- If your strip ends within 6 days of you missing a pill, then do not take the 7-day break but start your new strip immediately.
If you are sick within 3 to 4 hours of taking your pill or have diarrhoea, your body may not have fully absorbed the hormones. You should treat this as though you have missed a pill. If you continue to be sick or have diarrhoea, you should consult a pharmacist or nurse to get advice.
If you have missed two or more pills, or if you start the next strip more than a day late:
- You should take your pill as usual once you remember.
- You should use additional contraception for the next 7 days as you may not be protected from pregnancy.
- If you have had unprotected sex since you missed your pill you will need to use emergency contraception.
Can I take Lizinna to delay my period?
Yes, Lizinna is a monophasic pill which means that if you skip your 7-day break and start your next strip immediately, you will not have your period. You should talk to your doctor if you plan to do this regularly.
Can I use Lizinna as emergency contraception?
No, Lizinna is not an emergency contraceptive. Lizinna prevents an egg from being fertilised in the first place, whereas emergency oral contraception works to stop a pregnancy from developing after unprotected sex (and potentially fertilisation of an egg) has occurred.
Can I take Lizinna after a miscarriage or termination?
Yes, you can You may be able to start taking Lizinna immediately after a miscarriage or termination, if it occurred before 24 weeks of pregnancy. Make sure you discuss options with your doctor beforehand and follow their advice.
Can I take Lizinna if I am breastfeeding?
It is not recommended to take Lizinna while you are breastfeeding due to the oestrogen it contains. There may be better options if you are breastfeeding, such as the mini pill, which only contains progesterone and is suitable for breastfeeding mothers. You should ask your GP, or one of the Superdrug doctors, for advice.
Can I drink while taking Lizinna?
Yes, Lizinna does not interact with alcohol.
Can I take painkillers when taking Lizinna?
Yes, Lizinna does not interact with painkillers.
The hormonal changes in your body from taking Lizinna can lead to side effects in some women, especially in the first 3 months of taking it. If these side effects are serious, impact your life or don’t go away after 3 months, you should talk to your GP or message a doctor through your patient account on Superdrug Online. They may recommend that you stop taking Lizinna and try another type of contraceptive pill.
Many women take Lizinna without any side effects at all. In very rare cases, it can have a severe side effect: blood clots. Signs of a blood clot include but are not limited to:
- sharp chest pain
- unexplained swelling or tenderness in one or both legs
- sudden loss of vision
- coughing up blood
- shortness of breath
The Patient Information Leaflet lists how to identify a potential blood clot. If you develop the symptoms of a blood clot, you should stop taking Lizinna and contact your doctor immediately.
Very Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 patients):
- feeling sick or stomach pain
- bleeding and spotting between periods
- heavy or unusual periods
Common side effects (affects more than 1 in 100 patients):
- migraine (see a doctor if it is your first or is particularly severe. This type of pill may not be suitable for you if you have migraines)
- swollen hands, ankles or feet
- low mood and mood changes
- difficulty sleeping
- feeling nervous or dizzy and weak
- being sick or having diarrhoea or constipation
- rash or hives
- muscles spasms
- painful breasts
- vaginal infections or discharge
- weight gain
Uncommon side effects (affects fewer than 1 in 100 patients):
- larger breasts or fluid produced from nipples
- vaginal dryness
- abnormal cells in the cervix (identified by a smear test)
- feeling nervous or weak
- heart palpitations
- changes in skin colour or rashes/itchiness
- changes in appetite and weight loss or gain
- unusual hair growth or thinning
- hot flushes or muscle pain
- changes to sex drive
- dry eyes or changes in vision
- ovarian cysts
Rare side effects (affects fewer than 1 in 1000 women):
- reduced sex drive
- faster heartbeat
- increased sweating
- light sensitivity
The following questions are frequently discussed by women taking the combined pill:
Does Lizinna increase your risk of blood clots? Lizinna can increase your risk of developing a blood clot compared with not using one. However, the risk is low (between 5-7 out of 10,000 women in a year), and it decreases after your first year of taking it for the first time and returns to normal within a few weeks of stopping taking Lizinna. You should discuss your situation and familial medical history with the GP as part of the prescription process to ensure that taking Lizinna is suitable for you.
Does Lizinna make your breasts grow? Lizinna changes the hormones in your body, which can, in some cases, have a temporary impact on the size of your breasts.
Does Lizinna help acne? The combination of hormones in the combined oral contraceptive pill has been found to help acne by reducing sebum production. This oily substance is secreted onto your skin and can cause outbreaks.
Can Lizinna make you depressed or cause mood swings? Changes in mood and low mood are often linked with taking an oral contraceptive pill, but research has not been able to either prove or disprove this link.
Can Lizinna cause changes to your weight? Women often report that the contraceptive pill has impacted their weight, but there is no scientific evidence to support or disprove this
Does Lizinna stop periods? No, Lizinna is a monophasic 21-day pill which means you take it for 21 days and then have a 7-day break during which you bleed.
Can Lizinna help with painful and heavy periods? Yes, Lizinna regulates the hormones in your body, which can help with painful and heavy periods.
Can Lizinna give you low libido? The oestrogen in Lizinna regulates the testosterone in your body and can, for some women, reduce spikes that previously generated periods of having a high sex drive. If you are worried that taking Lizinna has impacted your sex drive speak to your GP, who may suggest alternatives for you.
Lizinna is suitable for most women, but the combination of oestrogen and progesterone does mean that it is not suitable for women with certain medical or health conditions. You must discuss your situation with a doctor before you start taking Lizinna. They may suggest that the progesterone-only or mini pill, or a non-hormonal contraception, is more appropriate for you.
It is essential to tell the prescribing GP if any of these factors apply to you:
- You smoke, or you stopped smoking less than a year ago
- suspect you might be pregnant
- Are having an operation which means you will be off your feet for an extended period
- take any medicines
- have or have had blood clots on a vein on your legs, lungs or other organs
- have a familial history of blood clots under the age of 45
- have high blood pressure
- have or have had a stroke
- have or have had a heart abnormality
- have or have had migraines
- have or have had breast cancer
- have or have had a disease of the gallbladder or liver
- have or have had diabetes
- Or any other medical conditions
- It is also important to tell the doctor your height and weight
Can I take Lizana if I am taking other medicines?
If you are taking other medicines or herbal products, you should tell the doctor prescribing you Lizinna. Likewise, if you take Lizinna and are being prescribed another drug, you should tell the doctor that you take Lizinna. This is because some medicines interact with Lizinna and make it less effective.
Medicines for the treatment of the following conditions may stop Lizinna from working correctly:
- high blood pressure
- HIV infection
- hepatitis C virus infection
- other infectious diseases
- depressed mood
- certain sedatives
- nausea caused by cancer treatment
- high cholesterol
What are the risks of taking Lizinna?
Lizinna is generally safe to take for many women, but there are risks to consider as with all combined oral contraceptive pills. In both cases, the risk is small, but some conditions can make your risk higher. It is essential to discuss your medical history with the doctor prescribing you an oral contraceptive pill.
- Blood clots: the oestrogen in Lizinna can cause your blood to clot more easily, and blood clots can lead to deep vein thrombosis (clot in your leg), pulmonary embolism (clot in your lung), stroke and heart attack. The risk is low (between 5-7 out of 10,000 women in one year), but it is higher when compared to women who are not taking any oral contraceptive (2 out of 10,000 women). The risk decreases after your first year of taking Lizinna for the first time and returns to normal within a few weeks of stopping taking it. Your risk also increases if you are overweight or older, have a family history of blood clots, gave birth recently or are going to be off your feet for a long time.
- Cancer: research has shown that the combined contraceptive pill can slightly increase the risk of developing breast and cervical cancer. However, 10 years after you stop taking the pill, your risk goes back to normal.
On Trustpilot, customers give the experience of using Superdrug Online Doctor an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, with over 16,000 people leaving a review.
On The Low Down, users of Lizinna rate it 2 stars out of 5. You can see how people view their moods, weight gain and sex drive while taking Lizinna.
Combined contraceptive pill NHS [accessed 19 March 2021]
Combination contraceptives: effects on weight Cochrane Library [accessed 19 March 2021]
Contraception - combined hormonal methods NICE [accessed 19 March 2021]
Lizinna EMC [accessed 19 March 2021]
Emergency contraception NHS [accessed 19 March 2021]
Contraceptives, hormonal NICE [accessed 19 March 2021]
Dr Draper studied at the University of Oxford and finished her training to become a doctor at University College London, with a special interest in innovation in medicine, online and digital medicine, improving access to healthcare and reducing inequalities in health and well-being.
Last reviewed on: 29/05/21