Contraceptive Pill and Patch
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To prevent pregnancy, the pill keeps the sperm and egg apart, by stopping ovulation, by making it harder for sperm to get to an egg and by making it harder for a fertilised egg to implant in the lining of the womb. The combined pill contains synthetic versions of the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
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What is a contraceptive pill?
The contraceptive pill is one of the most commonly used types of contraceptives in Ireland. It’s a pill that contains one or two different hormones that prevent ovulation. It can also help with painful or heavy periods, acne, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
“The pill” normally refers to the combined pill, which combines two different hormones which are lab-made versions of oestrogen and progesterone. The pill fits in with the natural menstrual cycle. Every 21 days there’s a seven-day break before you start taking the next set of pills. The main difference with the progestogen-only mini-pill is that it must be taken at the same time each day, and you take it every day, without a break. As a result, you may not have periods when you take the mini-pill. The mini-pill is suitable for some groups of people who are unable to take the combined pill.Combined oral contraceptives decrease the risk of certain conditions and cancer in the reproductive system. The pill also usually leads to lighter, less painful and more regular periods, and can improve acne.
When used correctly, the pill is over 99% effective. It works because it stops ovulation, stops sperm reaching an egg and prevents a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.
eClinic Online Doctor Ireland provides prescriptions for the following brands of the contraceptive pill:
We can also provide a prescription for Evra patches or the Nuvaring. Every woman reacts differently to each pill. Your doctor will assist you in choosing a suitable pill. It is not uncommon for women to have to try more than one pill before they find one which works well for them. Some pills are more frequently prescribed than others, for example Yasmin, Microgynon and Cilest. Yasmin is the most popular pill world-wide and is favoured by women who are worried about putting on weight, because it prevents water retention.
Which treatment options are there?
Combined pills are put into 2 categories:
‘monophasic pills’ which always have the same amount of hormones in them, or
’phasic pills’, which contain 2 or 3 different combinations of hormones pills (phasic).
Combined pills may also vary in how much oestrogen they have in them. Most contain 30-35 micrograms, but there are new options with 20 micrograms that work just as well as pills with a higher dose of oestrogen. If you want fewer side effects, this is an option to consider. Mercilon and Yaz are examples of low-dosage pills.
You may need to try more than one brand of pill before you find one that suits you.
Side Effects and Warnings
Side Effects of Contraceptive Pill
Not everyone gets them, but like any medication, the contraceptive pill has potential side effects. Most of them will be mild and temporary. The combined pill can cause mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches.
The mini pill can cause acne, breast tenderness or enlargement, an increase or decrease in sex drive, mood changes, headaches and migraine, nausea or vomiting, or cysts in your ovaries that are usually harmless and disappear without treatment. There’s a possibility, although rare, of getting more severe side effects such as blood clots or severe abdominal pain. If you think you may be experiencing these severe side effects, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.
Common side effects include:
It is quite common for the pill to cause some temporary side effects, which include mood swings, tender or sore breasts, headaches, breakthrough bleeding and spotting and nausea. These side effects normally go away after the first three months. If they don’t pass, you could try a different pill instead. The most common side effects from taking the contraceptive pill include:
mood swings (anxiety, depression)
sore or tender breasts
putting on weight
Are there any serious risks?
The pill can raise your blood pressure. It has also been linked to an increased risk of getting breast cancer and thrombosis (blood clots). However, it reduces your risk of getting non-cancerous breast disease, fibroids and ovarian cysts.
Does the pill interact with other medications?
The pill interacts with some types of medication, so if you are concerned you should speak to a doctor or read the patient information leaflet. The medications it interacts with include some types of antibiotics (including rifampicin and rifabutin - most commonly used to treat tuberculosis and meningitis); epilepsy medication, St John’s Wort and HIV medications (all of which speed up the time it takes for your liver to break down progestogen).
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It can be very difficult to quit smoking. Most smokers experience the withdrawal symptoms as particularly challenging. Quit smoking tablets help you overcome cravings and increase your chances of becoming an ex-smoker.
Order a prescription for Champix, online - or ask our doctor to recommend a medication.
Why is quitting smoking so difficult?
Many smokers make numerous attempts at quitting. This is due to the fact that smoking is not just a habit but also involves a physical and psychological addiction to nicotine. On average, smokers tend to try to stop smoking at least six times before they manage to quit. These repeated unsuccessful attempts often lead to disappointment and frustration, leaving smokers too discouraged to try again.
What are the benefits of quitting smoking?
Whether a smoker achieves his or her goal of never smoking again is highly dependent on their motivation. The more determined you are, the better are your chances of quitting. There are many good reasons to stop, which may help you achieve your goal. The most well-known disadvantage of being a smoker is the increased risk of certain types of cancer, such as lung, bladder and larynx cancer. Smoking has a similarly bad impact on your heart health and can lead to heart attack, blood clots and stroke.
For many smokers, the health risk is not the only problem associated with their habit. The financial implications of being a smoker also motivates many to quit.
If you have children or are planning to become a parent in the near future, you have a particularly good reason to give up smoking. Children whose parents smoke have a much higher risk of developing asthma during their childhood and smoking during pregnancy is known to put the baby at risk as it can lead to premature birth. According to a study conducted by the German university of Münster, a baby’s risk to die of sudden infant death is eight times higher if one or both parents are smokers.
Can therapy help to quit smoking?
The more determined you are to stop, the better. Behavioural therapy and contact with other smokers who are hoping to quit have been proven to be very helpful tools and increase your chances of stopping. You should think about why you would like to stop and be clear about your motivation and the advantages of being a non-smoker.
Which withdrawal symptoms can occur?
When you stop smoking, you will experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. If you think about situations in which you tend to crave a cigarette, you will probably notice a pattern. Knowing which situations trigger your cravings can help you avoid a relapse and develop a personal strategy for not smoking. During the first days of not smoking, ex-smokers tend to be irritable and impatient due to the lack of nicotine.
During the withdrawal period, you may find it difficult to concentrate and have trouble sleeping. Some smokers also experience headaches and minor tremors. Usually, these symptoms weaken and cease to occur within a week of the last cigarette, however, the intensity and duration of these symptoms differ. The desire to smoke outlasts the physical withdrawal period, which is why some smokers relapse after several months of not smoking.
What can I do to minimise withdrawal symptoms?
A nicotine replacement therapy can help avoid cigarettes. At the same time, however, replacement products continue to support the nicotine addiction, as you continue to ingest the nerve poison. Still, this type of medication can serve a purpose during the first days of not smoking. The dosage is calculated depending on how many cigarettes you used to smoke and the intake of nicotine is gradually reduced and phased out. Recent research suggests that the effectiveness of this therapy option has been overestimated in the past. Smokers taking part in a study of the IFT institute for research in Munich were not found to be likelier to quit permanently when using nicotine products.
Which treatment options are there?
Champix is a new drug, developed to help smokers on their journey to a smoke-free life. Champix contains the active ingredient Varenicline and is free from nicotine. When you smoke a cigarette, particular receptors of your central nervous system are stimulated by the nicotine and cause the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, known to promote the feelings of well-being and relaxation which smokers enjoy. Champix occupies these receptors and prevents the intake of nicotine, as well as its effect. At the same time, Varenicline reduces withdrawal symptoms and minimises the cravings. It helps smokers to stop consuming nicotine and makes it easier to stop smoking permanently. According to a study carried out by the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, Champix increases your chances of quitting significantly. 23% of the participants of their study who were taking Champix were still non-smokers 40 weeks after their last cigarette. In comparison, only 9% of participants who were given a placebo had managed not to relapse.
Side Effects and Warnings
Which quit smoking side effects are likely to occur?
When you stop smoking, you will notice some withdrawal symptoms. In addition, most types of medication designed to aid smokers can also cause side effects. Common side effects when using nicotine replacement tablets or plasters are light-headedness, headaches, dryness of the mouth, hiccups, bloatedness, and nausea.
Smokers who choose a therapy with Champix often experience headaches, insomnia, unusual dreams, nausea, an increased appetite, being sick, dry mouth, feeling drowsy, tiredness, dizziness, constipation, diarrhea and stomach pains. You may notice changes in your sense of taste and feel unusually full after a meal. It is difficult to tell withdrawal symptoms and side effects apart and some of the side effects listed may in fact be withdrawal symptoms (which can also affect individuals giving up smoking without Champix).
Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
Champix ~ Active Ingredient Varenicline
Champix contains Varenicline, reduces withdrawal symptoms and the enjoyment of cigarettes
Healthwave ~ Monthly Medicines Delivered To Your Door
The medications listed with Healthwave can only be supplied on foot of a valid prescription (eClinic)
WHAT IS HEALTHWAVE?
Healthwave is a pharmacy that supplies prescriptions direct to your door anywhere in Ireland. They operate a membership service designed to reduce your prescription costs and provide more convenient access to medication through a postal delivery service.
Membership costs €25 per year for the whole family.