Free Prescription for Women Aged 17 to 26 years old
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Webdoctor.ie Customer Review
—Elaine, 9th May 2022
What Qlaira is and what is it used for?
Qlaira prevents pregnancy by causing three different changes:
- Preventing ovulation (the release of an egg).
- Causing the mucus at the cervix (neck of the womb) to thicken, preventing sperm from entering the womb.
- Thinning the lining of the womb, making it more difficult for a fertilised egg to implant.
Contraceptive pills do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You should always use a barrier method such as a condom to reduce your risk of STIs.
You should know about the medications you are taking, or planning to take, so you can make an informed decision about your treatment. Please read this important information about Qlaira.
Important Medical Information
Who is this service suitable for?
This service can provide treatment for female (birth sex) patients who require contraceptive treatment to:
- Prevent pregnancy.
- Regulate troublesome periods.
- Manage hormonal-related acne.
You can apply for this treatment if you are aged between 17 and 49 years. A risk assessment will be carried out to determine if it is suitable for you to use this medication.
To use this service safely, we require up to date height & weight information and a recent blood pressure reading. If you have had a recent blood pressure check by your GP/ nurse, you can use this. If not, a reading from your local gym, pharmacy or home monitor can be used.
Finding the right pill for you can take a little trial and error. If you are experiencing significant side effects with your current pill, please let us know and we can advise on safe alternative options.
Please be aware, this service is not suitable if you have malabsorption problems from any cause, including after weight loss surgery (e.g. gastric band or sleeve). You should speak with your local GP or family planning clinic for contraceptive advice.
How do you take Qlaira?
If this is your first time taking Qlaira or you are restarting:
- Start it on day 1 of your next period and you will have full contraceptive cover immediately. (If you start it any later than this, additional contraception will be required for 9 full days)
- If you have not been sexually active since your last period, you can start it at any time of your cycle. If taken correctly, you will have full contraceptive cover after 9 days of pill taking. You should use additional contraception during this 9 day lead in time.
If you are changing from another type of pill or contraception, please send us a message with your Qlaira request to let us know and we can give you individual advice on how to do this.
The Qlaira pills in each packet are not all the same, there are variations in the type of hormone and dose of hormone in the pills. Qlaira is a quadriphasic pill which means there are 4 different types of hormone pill in each pill packet.
There are 28 pills in total; 26 coloured pills that contain hormones (active pills) and 2 white pills that do not contain any hormone (inactive pills).
It is important that you take your pill at the same time every day.
Start at Day one on the labelled pill packet and follow the arrows to complete all the coloured pills (active pills) and then the 2 white inactive pills at the end of the packet. Your new packet should then be started immediately, there is no break.
It is essential that you take your pill around the same time every day.
Usually bleeding will start on day 26 or 27 of your cycle. This can vary between women and can be unpredictable for the first 2-3 months of using this pill. You should always start your next packet on time, even if you are still bleeding. If unexpected bleeding occurs for more than 3 months, or starts after some time please seek medical advice.
What are the potential side effects of Qlaira?
Occasionally skin changes such as acne, decreased libido (sex drive), altered mood and fatigue are reported.
If you develop any of these symptoms and they are persisting, or you are concerned, please speak with your doctor. There are many alternative pill options to consider.
Combined pills like Qlaira can cause increases in blood pressure. It is not medically safe to take this pill if you have high blood pressure. A blood pressure check should be performed every 6 months to monitor for this as you are unlikely to have any symptoms.
Does taking Qlaira increase my risk of getting a blood clot?
Yes, taking a combined contraceptive pill increases your risk of developing potentially harmful blood clots, compared to non-users. The overall risk of a blood clot is very small and is significantly lower than if you were pregnant or during the postpartum period, but blood clots are potentially very serious and in very rare cases can be fatal.
Qlaira has a relatively lower associated risk of developing blood clots than some other combined contraceptive pills.
You should see a doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms when taking the combined pill:
- Pain or swelling in the legs.
- Severe chest pain.
- Breathlessness or coughing up blood.
- Bad fainting attack or collapse.
- Unusual headaches or difficulty with speech or sight.
- Numbness or weakness of a limb.
The risk of developing a blood clot is greatest in the months immediately after starting Qlaira, or when restarting after a break of at least one month. This risk reduces over the first year of use and then remains stable. It is for this reason that frequent starting and stopping of Qlaira should be avoided.
- If a blood clot develops in the leg, it can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
- If it travels to the lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism (PE).
- If it travels to the heart, it can cause a heart attack.
- If it travels to the brain, it can cause a stroke.
Other things that can increase your risk of developing a blood clot when taking Qlaira include:
- Being overweight.
- Increasing age (from 35 years and older).
- Having a family member with a blood clot ages <45 years.
- Postpartum (6-12 weeks post-delivery).
- Reduced mobility (even temporarily).
The more of these risk factors that apply to you, the greater your risk.
Seek additional advice if you are:
- Having a procedure or surgery (of any type).
- Planning a long-haul flight.
- Planning a holiday to an area of high altitude.
- Immobilised for a prolonged period of time.
Further information about blood clot risk is detailed in the leaflet that comes with your medication. Please read this before you start this pill.
Can I delay my period using the Qlaira pill?
Qlaira pills are not all the same; the hormones and the dose of hormone changes depending on where you are in your pill cycle. This makes delaying your period a little more complex compared with using other combined contraceptive pills.
If you would like to delay your period using Qlaira, speak to your doctor for advice on the best way to do this and stay protected from pregnancy.
What happens if I forget to take Qlaira?
The main concern about missing a pill is that this can affect your contraceptive protection. The more pills you miss the greater the risk of becoming pregnant.
Inactive tablets (2 white tablets at end of packet)
If you miss a white tablet you do not need to take it when you remember as it does not contain any active hormones. You should throw away the missed white pill to make sure that you do not accidentally take it. This could increase the hormone-free time and result in you starting your next packet late. This could increase the risk of pregnancy.
Take the next tablet at the usual time, and start your next packet when it is due.
Active pills (26 coloured pills)
If you miss a coloured pill and you are less than 12 hours late taking it:
- Take the missed pill as soon as you remember and continue with your pill packet as usual.
- You will have full contraceptive cover and do not need to use additional contraception.
If you miss one coloured pill and you are more than 12 hours late taking it, your contraceptive cover may be reduced.
As the type and dose of hormones in Qlaira pills changes throughout the cycle, what you do depends on when in the cycle your pill was missed. The information leaflet that comes with your pill will contain a ‘missed pill’ section. You should check the ‘missed pill table’ in this section for specific information about what to do, and speak with your doctor/ pharmacist if you have any concerns.
If you have missed one or more tablets during days 3-9, or you have forgotten to start your new pill packet on time, there is a risk you could be pregnant if you have had unprotected intercourse within the 7 days before forgetting your pill(s).
The more tablets you have forgotten between days 3-24, the greater the risk of possible pregnancy. You should speak with your doctor in the above situations as emergency contraception may be required.
Please note, that if you are using Qlaira and additional contraception is required it is for NINE days in total. Many other combined contraception methods require only 7 additional days of additional contraceptive use.
If you are using Qlaira for reasons other than contraception, then missing a very occasional pill is of no significant consequence.
If you have any vomiting or watery diarrhoea, you must use extra precautions during the illness and for nine days after the illness ends.
Can I take other medications with Qlaira?
Some medications (prescribed and over the counter), herbal remedies and supplements can interact with Qlaira. This can cause contraceptive failure and increase the possibility of potential side effects.
Please seek advice from a healthcare professional (e.g. doctor, pharmacist or nurse):
- Before starting any new medications, herbal remedies or supplements if you are taking Qlaira.
- If you are taking regular medication and are planning to start using Qlaira (or any contraceptive).
Examples of some medications that can interact with Qlaira include EllaOne (emergency contraceptive pill), St John’s wort, antiviral medications used to treat HIV/ AIDs, certain epilepsy medications, griseofulvin antifungal, rifampicin antibiotic (please note, other antibiotics do not affect Qlaira).
Contraceptive Pill, Patch & Ring Options That We Prescribe
Too busy to see your GP? Order your repeat prescription for the contraceptive pill, patch or ring online with Webdoctor.ie! Once your request has been approved, we can send your prescription directly to your chosen Irish pharmacy via secure Healthmail. If you do not see your pill listed, please email us for advice.
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We issue prescriptions for generic name medicines to ensure maximum availability of treatments. Please check your dispensed prescription before leaving the Pharmacy as no changes can be made after that point.
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