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Lovima Contraceptive Pill

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Lovima is a progesterone-only contraceptive pill that you can now buy over the counter without a prescription. It is very effective at preventing pregnancy (up to 99%), and is suitable for most women to take. 

Superdrug Online Doctor does not currently offer Lovima, but we do offer Hana which is a similar contraceptive pill that is also available over the counter. Hana contains the same ingredients and works in the exact same way as Lovima.


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Hana Contraceptive Pill

Lovima is a daily oral contraceptive pill for women, used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is one of the first contraceptive pills to be made available over the counter in the UK. This means that you do not need a prescription to buy Lovima.

There are two types ofcontraceptive pills. One type is the combined contraceptive pill, which contains two types of female sex hormone, oestrogen and progestogen. Lovima is a different, second type of contraceptive pill, known as the progesterone-only pill (POP), or mini pill

Each Lovima pill contains 75 micrograms of the female sex hormone progestogen desogestrel. Lovima contains no oestrogen, unlike combined oral contraceptives. This makes Lovima more suitable for certain women, such as those who cannot take contraceptives that contain oestrogen. This includes women who are overweight, women who are over 35 and smoke, and/or women with high blood pressure. Lovima also can be used by women who are breastfeeding since it contains no oestrogen. 

Lovima can be bought over the counter or with a prescription. We do not currently provide Lovima, but we do offer another over-the- counter contraceptive pill that works in the same way called Hana.

Can I get Lovima Over the Counter?

You can now buy Lovima over the counter at a pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. At the pharmacy, a pharmacist will take you through a short evaluation to check that Lovima is suitable for you.

Lovima is safe for many women as it does not contain oestrogen. Due to this, Lovima is available over the counter without a prescription. There is no evidence that Lovima is any less safe to take than other progesterone-only or mini pills.

Lovima works by releasing and regulating the hormone desogestrel. Desogestrel is a man-made version of progesterone, one of the female sex hormones that occur naturally in the body.

Lovima prevents unwanted pregnancies in two ways. Lovima stops your ovaries from releasing an egg, preventing you from ovulating each month. This makes it more difficult for sperm cells to fertilise the egg. This is different from the way some other progesterone-only pills (POPs) work, as these do not stop you from ovulating.

Lovima also works by increasing the thickness of the fluid around the neck of the womb. The thicker fluid makes it harder for sperm to travel up to the egg. Lovima also thins the lining of the womb, making it more difficult for any fertilised egg to implant itself within the womb.

This dual approach to preventing pregnancy makes Lovima a very effective contraceptive option.

How long does Lovima take to work?

The time it takes for Lovima to be fully effective depends on when you start taking it. If you wait until day 1 of your period to take Lovima, it will protect you from pregnancy straight away. You do not need to use any other methods of contraception if you start Lovima on day 1-5 of your period.

If you start taking Lovima after day 5 of your period, it will not protect you from pregnancy straight away. You will need to use condoms for the first 2 days when having sex to ensure you are protected from pregnancy.

If you are changing from a different form of oral contraceptive pill, or have in the past month taken emergency contraception, you should check the Lovima Patient Information Leaflet. This is because the effectiveness of Lovima can be affected by other medications.

How Effective is Lovima?

When taken correctly, Lovima is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, making it a great option for many women. 

In reality, its effectiveness is closer to 91%, as it can be reduced by things like missing pills, vomiting and diarrhoea. Lovima can also be made less effective by other medications, which is why you should speak with a pharmacist or doctor before taking it. This way they can make sure that Lovima is right for you. If you are sick or have diarrhoea whilst taking Lovima, you should use additional barrier contraception (condoms) when having sex for an extra 2 days. If you have already had sex, speak to a doctor, as you may need to take emergency contraception. 

Forgetting to take Lovima can also reduce its effectiveness. Whether or not you need any extra forms of contraception will depend on where you are in your cycle, the amount of days you missed Lovima, and whether you had sex in the week before your missed pill(s). Missing pills in the first week of taking Lovima will have the greatest impact on the effectiveness of Lovima. Our doctors can advise you if you have any worries, giving you certainty and peace of mind. When it comes to contraception, if you are worried it is always best to ask.


You should try to take Lovima at the same time every day to protect yourself from pregnancy most effectively. You take it with water, with or without food. If you do not take Lovima within the same 12 hour time frame every day, it may not prevent pregnancy. This means you will need to use additional contraception to be certain and the morning pill if you had sex during this time or the week before.

Lovima comes in blister strips of 28 tablets, each containing 75mg of Desogestrel. Every tablet is marked with a day of the week, each being the day of the week that you should take that tablet on. Arrows are printed on the blister strips to indicate the order you should take the tablets. When you start taking Lovima, begin from the top row and take the tablet corresponding to the day it is. For example, if you start taking Lovima on a Thursday, take the tablet from the top row that is marked THU. 

When Should I Start Taking Lovima

When you start taking Lovima affects how quickly it works to prevent pregnancy. You can start taking it at any time throughout your menstrual cycle, but you may need to use extra contraception for a short time.

It is best to start Lovima on the first day of your period. If you start taking Lovima on days 1-5 of your cycle, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. You do not need to use any other methods of contraception.

You can also start taking Lovima after day 5 of your period, but this will not protect you from pregnancy straight away. If you start Lovima after day 5, you need to use condoms any time you have sex in the next 2 days.

What happens if you miss a Lovima pill?

If you miss a Lovima pill, it will impact how effective Lovima is. If you miss a pill in the first week of your cycle, your risk of becoming pregnant is higher. This is even higher if you had sex in the week before missing your pill.

If you are less than 12 hours late in taking your pill:

  • take your pill as soon as you remember, then take your next pill at the usual time
  • you should still be protected from pregnancy; no further contraception is needed

If you are more than 12 hours late in taking your pill:

  • think of it as though you have missed a pill
  • take your missed pill as soon as you remember, then take your next pill at the usual time. Do this even if it means taking two pills in one day; this is not harmful.
  • you will need to use emergency contraception if you’ve had sex in the week before missing your pill. A pharmacist or one of our doctors can advise you on which emergency contraception is best for you.

Can I take Lovima to Delay My Period?

Lovima is a progesterone-only contraceptive pill, also known as a “mini pill”. Mini pills can’t be used to delay your period. However, combined contraceptive pills like Rigevidon, Marvelon, and Yasmin can be taken back to back to delay your period. You can also use period delay medication to safely delay your period.

Can I use Lovima as Emergency Contraception?

Lovima cannot be used as emergency contraception. It is a type of mini pill, and mini pills generally do not work as emergency contraception. This is because Lovima prevents pregnancy by stopping an egg from being fertilised in the first place.

A pharmacist or one of our online doctors can help you decide which type of emergency contraception is best for you. 

Lovima affects different women in different ways, and some women will not get any side effects at all, but some find that they do experience one or several. The different side effects can be split into three categories: common, uncommon and rare. 

Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 women) are:

  • mood changes
  • depressed mood or depression 
  • reduced sexual drive (libido)
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • acne
  • breast pain
  • irregular periods, or periods that stop altogether
  • weight increase

Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 women) are:

  • infection of the vagina
  • difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • vomiting
  • hair loss
  • painful periods
  • ovarian cysts
  • tiredness 

Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1000 women) are:

  • skin conditions, such as rashes, hives, or erythema nodosum. This is when fat swells under the skin, causing dark or red bumps that can be painful. These usually appear on the shins or ankles, but can sometimes occur on the thighs or forearms
  • leaking from the breasts

What should I do if I think I’m getting Side Effects from Lovima?

Side effects are most likely to occur during the first 3 months of taking Lovima, whilst your body gets used to the medication. After 3 months, your body should adjust, and if you have been experiencing side effects, they should become more manageable or go away entirely.

If you are finding the side effects unmanageable, or after three months you are still getting them, you should speak to your doctor. They may recommend a different contraceptive pill, or a different form of contraception entirely.

What Should I Do If I Experience Bleeding Whilst on Lovima?

Lovima may cause you to bleed more or less heavily than you normally do. You might also find that you bleed more or less frequently than normal, as well as more irregularly. Much like the other side effects you may experience, after three months any changes to your bleeding will usually stop. If this continues past this point, you should speak to your doctor.

Lovima is not necessarily the best contraceptive option for everyone. It may not be suitable for certain women, such as those with pre-existing health conditions or those taking other medications. If you are not sure whether you should take Lovima, speak to a pharmacist or one of our online doctors. They can advise you on your options. For example, you may be able to try other pills that use a different type of progesterone if you cannot take Lovima or other similar mini contraceptive pills. Examples of these alternative types of pills are Norgeston or Noriday.

Some women may also see better results on combined contraceptive pills. This is because as well as acting as a contraceptive, the oestrogen in combined pills can help regulate bleeding and improve skin.

Drug Warnings

If any of the following conditions apply to you, Lovima may not be suitable for you. You should not take Lovima and speak to your doctor if you:

  • are pregnant, or suspect you could be pregnant
  • have a thrombosis 
  • are experiencing jaundice (yellowing of the skin), have liver disease or have been told your liver is not working properly
  • have ever had a cancer that is an active sex-steroid sensitive cancer, for example breast, uterine or ovarian cancer
  • have unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • are allergic to any of the ingredients in Lovima. This includes if you have any allergy or sensitivity to desogestrel, peanuts, soya or certain sugars such as lactose


There are other reasons Lovima may not be right for you. These may not necessarily mean you cannot take Lovima, but you must talk to your doctor before starting Lovima if these apply to you. Our online doctors can give you advice on whether Lovima is right for you if you have:

  • had breast cancer in the past
  • a history of thrombosis or clotting problems
  • liver cancer or other liver problems
  • diabetes
  • epilepsy
  • tuberculosis
  • high blood pressure
  • chloasma (patches of yellow-brownish pigmentation on the skin, particularly on the face. If you have chloasma you should try to stay out of the sun and wear high SPF sun cream. This will reduce your exposure to ultraviolet radiation)

You should talk to your doctor if you have or have had any of the above. You may still be able to use Lovima, but your doctor will need to carefully monitor you whilst you are taking it.

Other Medications and Lovima

The following medications are known to interact with Lovima:

medicinal charcoal. This is used to treat drug poisoning or overdose. It can reduce the effectiveness of Lovima as it can prevent your body from absorbing Lovima properly


medications containing cyclosporine. These medications are used to prevent organ rejection after organ transplants. Lovima increases the effect of medications containing cyclosporine


lamotrigine. This medication is used to treat epilepsy. Lovima causes a decrease in the effect of Lamotrigine


medications in the class of enzyme-inducers. This includes those used for to treat:

  • epilepsy (eg primidone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, felbamate, and phenobarbital)
  • tuberculosis (eg rifampicin and rifabutin)
  • HIV infections (eg ritonavir and nelfinavir) or other infection diseases (eg griseofulvin)
  • depressive moods (the herbal remedy St John’s wort)

Whilst using Lovima, you should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have taken or are going to take other medications or herbal products. Equally, if you take Lovima and are starting a new medication, you should tell your doctor you use Lovima.

Are There any Risks to Taking Lovima?

Lovima can slightly increase your risk of getting certain health problems or conditions. Not all these risks are known because Lovima is a relatively new contraceptive pill, butthe risks are generally the same or less than the risks associated with taking other combined pills or progesterone-only pills (POPs). Lovima may increase your chances of experiencing the following health problems and conditions:

breast cancer: Less people take Lovima compared to combined pills, so there is less known about the link between breast cancer and Lovima. It is believed that Lovima increases your risk of getting breast cancer by an amount similar to that of the combined pill. 

thrombosis, or blood clot. Signs you might have a DVT are:

  • throbbing or cramping in one leg, normally in the calf or thigh (you will rarely experience this in more than one leg)
  • swelling in one leg (you will rarely experience this in more than one leg)
  • warm, red or darkened skin around the painful area
  • veins that are swollen or hard, and painful to touch

If you have a DVT elsewhere in the body, such as in your arm or tummy, you may experience these symptoms in that part of the body.

You should get urgent medical advice if you are worried you have a DVT.Whilst DVTs can be dangerous, they are a very rare side effect of Lovima. The risk of DVT is higher for those taking an oral contraceptive pill compared to those who don’t. The risk of DVT for people taking Lovima and other POPs has not been fully determined because less people use POPs than other contraceptive pills. 

  • ectopic pregnancy: this is when an egg is fertilised but implants itself in the wrong position, outside of the womb. d. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden or severe pain in your stomach or lower abdomen. You must do this even if you do not think you are pregnant.
  • high blood pressure: some people find that their blood pressure increases whilst taking Lovima. If this happens, seek immediate medical advice as you may need to stop taking Lovima.
  • diabetes: if you are diabetic, you should speak to a medical professional before starting Lovima. This is because the active ingredient Desogestrel can affect how you control your diabetes.
  • psychiatric disorders: some women experience depressed mood or depression when taking Lovima. Depression is a serious health problem, which you can read more about here. If you are feeling low and are worried you are suffering from depression, you should talk to a doctor as soon as possible so you can get the right support for you.

Can I drink while taking Lovima?

There is no evidence to suggest that you can not drink alcohol while taking Lovima, but it may make any side effects you are experiencing feel worse. If you do drink while taking Lovima, you should try to stick to the recommended intake guidelines.

Can I take painkillers when taking Lovima?

Most painkillers are safe to take while taking Lovima, but you should always check the patient information leaflet included before you do so. If you are concerned about taking painkillers with Lovima, you can always message a doctor for advice.

Can I take Lovima when I’m breastfeeding?

You can use Lovima whilst breastfeeding. It appears desogestrel, the active ingredient in Lovima, does not impact the production or quality of your breast milk. However, there have been rare and infrequent reports of desogestrel decreasing the production of breast milk.

Whilst breastfeeding on Lovima, only a small amount of desogestrel passes into your breast milk. Children who were breast-fed for 7 months whilst their mothers used desogestrel were studied until they reached 2 and a half years of age. There were no observable effects on their growth and development.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [Accessed 10th April 2021]
Lovima public consultation document (2021) Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Lovima Patient Information Leaflet (2020) Laboratorios Leon Farma [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Does the Contraceptive Pill Increase Cancer Risk? (2021) Cancer Research UK [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Erythema Nodosum (2020) NHS [Accessed 10th April 2021]

DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) (2019) NHS [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Ectopic Pregnancy (2018) NHS [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Progesterone (2018) You and Your Hormones [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Emergency Contraception (2020) NHS Inform [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Emergency Contraception (morning after pill, IUD) (2018) NHS [Accessed 10th April 2021]

Lovima Pharmacy Consultation Checklist (2020) Maxwellia [Accessed 10th April 2021]

The Progestogen Only Pill (2021) NHS [Accessed 10th April 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