The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is consulting on giving a Pharmacy (P) licence to progestogen-only contraceptive pills called Lovima and Hana respectively, meaning for the first time this form of contraception could be available in pharmacies without the need for a prescription.
RPS President Sandra Gidley said:
“The Royal Pharmaceutical Society welcomes the MHRA’s consultation which could allow a progestogen-only contraceptive pill to be provided directly to women by pharmacists without a prescription.
“Pharmacies already play an important role in the provision of contraception and are a convenient, expert source of help and advice. This move will increase access to an effective method of contraception and enable women to make an informed choice about their needs after discussion with a pharmacist.
“Whilst this classification is a positive move, ultimately we’d like to see contraceptive services commissioned by the NHS through pharmacies so many more people can benefit from another point of access to contraception and advice.”
We will be responding to the consultation in due course.
Is it safe?
The progestogen-only pill is generally well tolerated and side effects are rare. It is very safe to take, but as with every medicine, there may be a reason why it wouldn’t suit you. Your pharmacist will help you decide.
Most women can use the progestogen-only pill, but you may not be able to if you:
• think you might be pregnant
• don't want your periods to change
• take other medicines that may affect the pill
• have unexplained bleeding in between periods or after sex
• have developed arterial disease or heart disease or have had a stroke
• have liver disease
• have breast cancer or have had it in the past
• have severe cirrhosis or liver tumours
If you're healthy and there are no medical reasons why you shouldn't take the progestogen-only pill, you can take it until your menopause or until you're 55.