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Ovysmen is a version of the combined pill manufactured by Janssen. It contains two synthetic hormones, called norethisterone and ethinylestradiol.

This pill has been discontinued and is no longer available. To discuss suitable alternatives, we recommend you speak to your GP.

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PLEASE NOTE: This treatment is not available through our online pharmacy service. This page is for information only. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms related to the condition(s) this medication treats, we strongly recommend that you see your GP in person.

This content was reviewed by a clinician on

05 January 2021
dr daniel

Dr Daniel Atkinson

(GP Clinical Lead - GMC No. 4624794) 05 January 2021
Product information

Ovysmen is a birth control pill manufactured by Janssen, and is a type of medication called a combined hormonal contraceptive. This means that it contains two artificial hormones, which perform the same function in the body as progesterone and oestrogen. It is taken once a day at the same time each day for the first three weeks of a user’s menstrual cycle.

Please note that Ovysmen has been discontinued as of January 2016, and is no longer available to buy from our pharmacy.

In the female body, hormone levels rise and fall each month in order to fulfil certain functions. For instance, oestrogen helps repair and thicken the lining of the uterus.

When oestrogen peaks to their highest levels on day 14, ovulation occurs This is the process by which the ovary generates an egg, and releases it ready for fertilisation by male sperm. Once produced, this egg then travels along the fallopian tube towards the uterus.

Progesterone helps to maintain the uterus lining (the thickness of the wall). If fertilisation does not occur, menstruation begins and the lining breaks up – also known as a period.

The functioning agents in Ovysmen, norethisterone and ethinylestradiol, override these operations. Their presence outside of the usual cycle of falling and rising hormones makes the body think, to a certain extent, that it is already pregnant. As a result, it does not ovulate and produce an egg; and the uterine wall lining is altered so that it cannot house a fertilised egg and allow it to develop. In addition, these hormones make the fluid found in the cervix thicker, and this stops sperm from being to achieve their objective of fertilisation, by hindering their mobility.

Ovysmen has been discontinued. However, there are alternatives available. If you usually take Ovysmen and looking for a similar contraceptive pill, we recommend you speak to your GP or family planning nurse.

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021


Always adhere to the instructions provided by your prescriber, and make sure you read the directions in the leaflet prior to use. This will help you to optimise the effectiveness of your pill and reduce the risk of side effects.

  1. Apply as prescribed.
  2. For the 21-day pill, this will typically be one pill taken at the same time each day for the first three weeks of your four week menstrual cycle.
  3. Then have seven days off.
  4. Repeat this process each month for as long as you require protection.
  5. Specific guidance on when to start the pill can be located in the instructions supplied. If you are not switching from another product and have not recently been pregnant, this will usually be on the first day of your period.
  6. Do not make up for a missed dose by taking double the amount. In the event that you forget to take your pill, consult your leaflet for advice on what to do next. If you are still not completely sure, contact your doctor or family planning nurse.
  7. Only ever use the amount prescribed for you.
  8. Swallow tablets whole with water.

These guidelines are provided for your information only, and do not constitute detailed instructions. Consult the leaflet provided before and during the use of this product.

Download Ovysmen patient information leaflet

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021
Side effects & Warnings

Side effects

Although not everyone will experience them, it is important to be aware of the side effects this medicine may cause, as some of them may be harmful and necessitate attention from a healthcare professional.

Seek medical advice right away if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, blood clot, heart attack, stroke, cervical, breast or womb cancer, or severe liver disease. Guidance on what these look like can be found in the patient information leaflet.

Very common (1 in 10 people or more):
Headache, feeling or being sick, painful or unusual periods, premenstrual syndrome or bleeding and spotting between periods for the first few months.

Common (1 in 100 people or more):
Depression, feeling nervous, dizziness, stomach ache and bloating, breast pain or tenderness, diarrhoea, acne, vaginal problems, such as increased secretions or discharge, itchiness, heavy or missing periods, withdrawal bleed when product is stopped, muscle spasms, back or pelvic pain.

Uncommon (1 in 100 people or less):
Feeling irritable, anxiety, migraine, mood swings, skin rash, redness or itchiness, hair loss, decreased appetite, weight fluctuations, swollen hands, ankles or feet, reduced sex drive, thrush, drowsiness, or weakness.

Rare (1 in 1,000 people or less):
Increase in appetite, difficulty losing weight, gallstones, excess hair growth, or an intolerance to contact lenses.

This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with this product. You may find more detailed information in the leaflet supplied with the treatment.


Taking it with other medicines

It is important to let your prescriber know if you are using other prescription, non-prescription or remedial products, as they may affect or be compromised by the function of this pill.

The following may interact with Ovysmen: antiepileptics such as topiramate, carbamazepine, phenytoin, oxcarbazepine, felbamate, eslicarbazepine acetate, or rufinamide; bosentan; rifampicin and rifabutin; anti-HIV medicines; boceprevir and telaprevir; aprepitant and fosaprepitant; griseofulvin; modafinil; barbiturates; St. John’s Wort; colesevelam; etoricoxib; ciclosporin; lamotrigine; prednisolone; selegiline; theophylline; or tizanidine.

Conditions to look out for

Disclose your medical history to your prescriber during consultation. You should not use this pill if you have or have ever had: breast or liver cancer; an irregular heartbeat; a problem with your blood circulation; heart attack, stroke, blood clot, or any condition which puts you more at risk of these; very high blood pressure; migraines with aura; diabetes with secondary problems; a severe liver disease; or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

A doctor may also choose not to issue this product or only issue it with special care if you have or have ever had: high blood pressure; diabetes; gall bladder problems; any illness affecting skin pigmentation; porphyria; or migraines.e cervix thicker, and this stops sperm from being to achieve their objective of fertilisation, by hindering their mobility.

You can buy Ovysmen from our trusted UK pharmacy by completing our short medical assessment. It takes just a few minutes, and your information will be kept confidential at all times. A GMC-registered doctor will review your answers, and issue a prescription if your medication is suitable for you. This will then be handled by our dispensing pharmacy who will ship your order to you by secure next-day courier.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

You should not use this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Speak to your doctor if this applies to you.

Driving and machinery

Ovysmen has not been found to interact with your ability to drive or operate machinery.

Contraception and cancer risks

The enclosed patient information leaflet contains important details about the pill and cancer risks.

Lactose intolerance

Ovysmen contains lactose. If you have a sugar intolerance, you should speak to your doctor about whether this treatment is the most suitable for you.

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021

Can I still drink alcohol?

Yes. The consumption of alcohol should not affect the way this pill works.

Will I still be able to drive?

Yes, provided you experience no side effects. If you do, and think that they may impair your judgement or motor skills, then you should refrain from driving and speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Can I take the medicine while pregnant?

No. This pill should not be taken by anyone who is or thinks they might pregnant, and is not recommended for use during breastfeeding. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding, as they may prefer to suggest an alternative.

How should I store it?

Keep Ovysmen below 30°C and in its original packaging to protect it from moisture and light.

Am I allergic to anything in the medicine?

Contained in Ovysmen are the following ingredients: norethisterone, ethinylestradiol, anhydrous lactose, magnesium stearate and pregelatinised starch. Do not take it if you are allergic to any of these constituents.

Is it available over-the-counter?

Ovysmen is no longer available at all, as it is not in production any more.

Is it right for me?

Before you begin taking any contraceptive pill, you should have a discussion with a doctor to ensure it is suitable. They may need to perform certain checks to make sure that you are not at risk of developing harmful side effects.

If you already take the contraceptive pill and are looking to renew your prescription, you can do so through our secure online service. Refer to our contraception information page to find out more.

Page last reviewed:  05/01/2021
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