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1st of a new 4pt series on Contraception looks at different types and methods

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Contraceptives Part 1


Contraceptives help individuals and couples address their reproductive goals by preventing unintended pregnancies. There are various types of contraceptives available including hormonal, non-hormonal, and long-acting contraceptive methods.


Types of contraceptives


Hormonal Contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives contain synthetic hormones, such as progesterone and oestrogen, that regulate ovulation and prevent pregnancy. They come in various forms, including oral pills, patches, injections, vaginal rings, and implants. Note that progestins is the term used to describe synthetic, laboratory created hormones that mimic progesterone and act as it does in the body. 


There are several synthetic progesterone hormones, also known as progestins, that are used in various contraceptive pills either on their own when they are known as progesterone only contraceptives (POCs) or combined oral contraceptives (COCs) where progesterones are combined with oestrogens.


Examples of progesterones used in contraceptives include:

  • Levonorgestrel: It is one of the most used progestins in combined oral contraceptives (COCs). COC brands containing levonorgestrel include Ovranette®, Ovreena®, Microlite®, Logynon®, Violite®, Mylite® and Leonore® (all of which are COCs containing a combination ethinylestradiol and levonorgestral of varying strength). The implants/ intrautrerine devices Mirena®, Kyleena® and Jaydess® contain Levonorgestrel while Levonorgestrel 1.5mg is used for emergency contraception.
  • Norethisterone, also known as norethindrone. This progestin is used in COCs as well as in some POCs (eg. Noriday®). COC brand names containing norethisterone, include Ovranette® and Ovreena® both of which contain norethisterone and ethinylestradiol.
  • Drospirenone: It is a newer progestin used in combination oral contraceptives. It is combined with ethinylestradiol in oral pills such as Yasmin®, Yaz®, Elvina® and Elvinette® while Angeliq® contains oestradiol and drospirenone.
  • Desogestrel: Another progestin used in COC and POCs. POCs that contain desogestrel are Cerazette® and Azalia® and COCs that include desogestrel and ethinylestradiol include Marviol® and Mercilon®.
  • Norgestimate: This progestin is used in COCs. Clique® is an oral pill that contains norgestimate and ethinylestradiol.


Types of hormonal contraceptives


Oral Contraceptives



Their effectiveness of oral contraceptives is over 99% when used correctly. Oral contraceptives can cause several side effects, such as headaches, mood swings, and irregular bleeding. The combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill contains both oestrogen and progesterone, while progestogen only contraceptive (POC) the "mini pill" only contains progestogen.


To be continued… next week I discuss the main types of oral contraceptives.


For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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