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Welcome to Women's Health Matters, an online resource to support healthcare professionals involved in the area of Women's Health.

Qlaira® (Estradiol valerate/dienogest)

A COC licensed for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in women without organic pathology.1-3,4

Qlaira® is a combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill licensed for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in women without organic pathology who desire oral contraception.*5 It was the first COC to deliver oestradiol – the oestrogen identical to the endogenously-produced 17β oestradiol.4

Qlaira® therapeutic indications5

  • Oral contraception.
  • Treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding in women without organic pathology who desire oral contraception.

The decision to prescribe Qlaira should take into consideration the individual woman's current risk factors, particularly those for venous thromboembolism (VTE), and how the risk of VTE with Qlaira compares with other combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) (see sections 4.3 and 4.4 of the SmPC for further information).

Qlaira® Prescribing information

*The dose schedule for this indication is the same as that for normal contraceptive use.

  1. Ahrendt HJ, Makalová D, Parke S, et al. Contraception, 2009;80(5):436–444.
  2. Junge W, Mellinger U, Parke S, et al. Clin Drug Investig, 2011;31(8):573-584.
  3. Klipping C, Duijkers I, Parke S, et al. Drugs R D 2011;11(2):159-170.
  4. UKMi New Medicines Profile. Qlaira. Available at: https://www.sps.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/NMPQlairaNov09.pdf. Last accessed: October 2019.
  5. Bayer PLC. Qlaira Summary of Product Characteristics.

Qlaira®: A simple regimen of 1 pill per day with no intake break to maximise compliance1-3

Qlaira

A 28-day regimen with no intake break is likely to have higher compliance rates than those with an intake break.1,2

Each wallet (28 film-coated tablets) contains, in the following order:1

  • 2 dark yellow tablets each containing 3 mg estradiol valerate
  • 5 medium red tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 2 mg dienogest
  • 17 light yellow tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 3 mg dienogest
  • 2 dark red tablets each containing 1 mg estradiol valerate
  • 2 white tablets that do not contain active substances

To assist patients, the missed pill rules are printed directly on to the Qlaira® wallet.

  1. Bayer PLC. Qlaira Summary of Product Characteristics.
  2. Aubeny E, et al. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2002;7:155–161.
  3. MacGregor EA and Guillebaud J. BMJ Sex Reprod Health 2018;44:214–220.

E2V and E2 are almost identical in terms of their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile1

E2V and E2 are almost identical in terms of their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile

E2=oestradiol; E2V=oestradiol valerate.

  1. Guida M, et al. Int J Womens Health 2010;2:279–290.
  2. Düsterberg B et al. Maturitas 1982;4:315–324.

After switching to Qlaira® or POP from an EE-containing regimen, Qlaira® resulted in higher continuation rates and patient satisfaction when compared to POP.

  • High rates of satisfaction with Qlaira® vs POP in both age groups 3–5 months after switching to Qlaira® or POP
  • High rates of satisfaction were also seen in younger women
  • The time to discontinuation was significantly longer in the Qlaira® group than in the POP group due to bleeding (p<0.0001) or other reasons (p=0.022)
  • Lower discontinuation rates with Qlaira® vs POP

Left-hand figure reproduced from Briggs P, et al. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 2013; 33:591–596. Re-use permission granted by the publisher Dove Medical Press, part of Taylor & Francis Group, the Academic Publishing Division of Informa PLC.ps://www.dovepress.com/continuation-rates--bleeding-profile-acceptability-and-satisfaction-of-peer-reviewed-article-IJWH.

POP=progestogen-only pill.

  1. Briggs P et al. Int J Womens Health 2016;8:477–487.

Qlaira®: Frequently asked questions

Below you will find answers to some commonly asked questions that you may find useful when assessing appropriate contraceptive options for patients or counselling patients on heavy menstrual bleeding, contraception choice and Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest)

    Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) is a combined oral contraceptive pill that is licensed for the treatment of menorrhagia in women without organic pathology who desire oral contraception or birth control.1

    Qlaira® may benefit patients who desire a less invasive option for patients who experience heavy menstrual bleeding but are reluctant to have the first-line treatment of a levonorgestrel intrauterine system, for example Mirena® (52 mg intrauterine delivery system levonorgestrel), fitted. Qlaira® can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and reduce heavy periods. Women taking the combined oral contraceptive may experience amenorrhoea despite not being pregnant. Based on patient diaries, amenorrhoea occurs in approximately 15% of cycles.1 For more information on side effects of Qlaira®, click here.

    As 42% of missed pills occur in the first week after restarting a new pack,2 this indicates it may be difficult for women to remember the day to start a new pack after a 7-day break (the 42% of missed pills is not specific to Qlaira®).

    Qlaira® includes 26 hormone pills and two non-hormone, placebo inactive tablets as a 28-day regimen (with no intake break)1, which is likely to have higher compliance rates than other regimens which include an intake break.2,3

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      2. Aubeny E, et al. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2002;7:155–161.

      3. MacGregor EA and Guillebaud J. BMJ Sex Reprod Health 2018;44:214–220.

    While the dosing of Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) is different from that of other combined oral contraceptives (with the pill colours relating to different dosages and active ingredients), this does not change the routine of taking 1 pill per day.1

    Qlaira® should be taken at about the same time every day for 28 consecutive days, following the direction of the arrows on the wallet.1
    Each subsequent wallet is started the day after the last tablet of the previous wallet (no intake break).4

    Each packet contains 28 film-coated tablets; 26 hormone pills and 2 non-hormone pills; in the following order:1

    • 2 dark yellow tablets each containing 3 mg estradiol valerate
    • 5 medium red tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 2 mg dienogest
    • 17 light yellow tablets each containing 2 mg estradiol valerate and 3 mg dienogest
    • 2 dark red tablets each containing 1 mg estradiol valerate
    • 2 white tablets that do not contain active substances

    For information about what a patient should do in the case of missing a pill, click here.

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      4. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Patient Information Leaflet [online]. Updated December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536/pil [Last accessed: August 2019].

    Ensure the patient informs you of all the medicines or herbal products they are using as some can:4

    • Have an influence on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest)
    • Make it less effective in preventing pregnancy with possible contraceptive failure
    • Cause unexpected breakthrough bleeding

    These include:4

    • Medicines used for the treatment of:1,4
      • Epilepsy (e.g. primidone, phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate)
      • Tuberculosis (e.g. rifampicin)
      • HIV and Hepatitis C virus infections (so-called protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors such as ritonavir, nevirapine, efavirenz)
      • Fungal infections (e.g. griseofulvin, ketoconazole)
    • The herbal remedy St John’s wort
    • Qlaira® may influence the effect of other medicines, for example:
      • medicines containing cyclosporine
      • the anti-epileptic lamotrigine (this could lead to an increased frequency of seizures)

    Refer to the Summary of Product Characteristics and Patient information leaflet (available in references) for further interaction data and additional specific guidance on when barrier methods should be used.

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      4. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Patient Information Leaflet [online]. Updated December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536/pil [Last accessed: August 2019].

    The most commonly reported side effects with Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) when used as an oral contraceptive or in the treatment of menorrhagia in women without organic pathology who desire oral contraception are acne, breast discomfort, headache, intracyclic bleeding, nausea and weight gain.1

    Patients can be reassured that intracyclic bleeding should decline after the first few months of use.1

    There is an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) or arterial thromboembolism (ATE) for all patients taking combined hormonal contraceptives.4

    Epidemiological studies in women who use low-dose (<50 µg ethinylestradiol) combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) have found that out of 10,000 women, between about 6 and 12 will develop a VTE in one year. It is estimated that out of 10,000 women who use a levonorgestrel-containing CHC about 6 will develop a VTE in 1 year.

    Limited epidemiological evidence suggests that the risk of VTE with the use of Qlaira® may be in the same range as the risk with other CHCs including CHCs containing levonorgestrel.1

    Some women using hormonal contraceptive pills including Qlaira® have reported depression or depressed mood. Depression can be serious and may sometimes lead to suicidal thoughts.4 Women should be advised to contact their physician in case of mood changes and depressive symptoms, including shortly after initiating the treatment.1 Depression and mood change such as mood swings are uncommon, around 0.1–1% may be affected.

    An increased risk of VTE or ATE is present for all women taking combined hormonal contraceptives. Harmful blood clots are rare, between 0.01–0.1% of women may be affected. The existence of other conditions/factors such as age, smoking and being overweight may increase the risk of having a blood clot.4

    For full guidance refer to the Summary of Product Characteristics.1

    The Patient Information Leaflet can be downloaded here.

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      4. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Patient Information Leaflet [online]. Updated December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536/pil [Last accessed: August 2019].

    Report Adverse Events
    Adverse events should be reported. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk. Adverse events should also be reported to Bayer plc Tel: 01182063500, Fax: 01182063703, Email: pvuk@bayer.com.

    There are a number of steps you can take to help minimise the risk of complications (such as thromboembolism) for patients when prescribing combined hormonal contraceptives. These include assessing:1

    • Age: particularly above 35 years
    • Smoking: women should be advised not to smoke if they wish to use a combined hormonal contraceptive. Women over 35 who continue to smoke should be strongly advised to use a different method of contraception
    • Hypertension
    • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] over 30 kg/m2): Risk increases substantially as BMI increases. This is particularly important in women with additional risk factors
    • Positive family history: if a hereditary predisposition is suspected, the woman should be referred to a specialist for advice before deciding about any combined hormonal contraceptive use
    • Migraine: an increase in frequency or severity of migraine during use (which may be prodromal of a cerebrovascular event) may be a reason for immediate discontinuation
    • Prolonged immobilisation, major surgery, any surgery to the legs or pelvis, neurosurgery or major trauma: Note: temporary immobilisation including air travel >4 hours can also be a risk factor for VTE, particularly in women with other risk factors.
    • Other medical conditions associated with VTE: for example, cancer, systemic lupus erythematosus, haemolytic uraemic syndrome, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease or Ulcerative Colitis) and sickle cell disease.
    • Other medical conditions associated with ATE: Diabetes mellitus, hyperhomocysteinaemia, valvular heart disease and atrial fibrillation, dyslipoproteinaemia and systemic lupus erythematosus.

    Refer to the Qlaira® summary of product characteristics for detailed information including the latest evidence and a consultation checklist for prescribers.

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

    Between 1–10% of women who take Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) reported weight gain.4

    Weight gain is one of the most commonly reported adverse reactions with Qlaira® when used as an oral contraceptive or in the treatment of menorrhagia in women without organic pathology who desire oral contraception.1

    Women should be advised to contact their physician if they gain a lot of weight.4

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      4. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Patient Information Leaflet [online]. Updated December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536/pil [Last accessed: August 2019].

    Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) is a treatment of menorrhagia in women without organic pathology who desire oral contraception.

    Expected bleeding

    Withdrawal bleeding usually starts during the intake of the last tablets of a wallet and may not have finished before the next wallet is started. In some women, the bleeding starts after the first tablets of the new wallet are taken.1

    If expected bleeding does not occur twice in a row, patients should contact a doctor to rule out pregnancy. Pregnancy must be ruled out before Qlaira use is continued.1

    Women taking the Qlaira® pill may experience amenorrhoea despite not being pregnant. Based on patient diaries, amenorrhoea occurs in approximately 15% of cycles.1

    Intracyclic bleeding

    During the first few months of taking Qlaira®, patients may have unexpected bleeding. Usually bleeding starts on Day 26 (the day they take the second dark red tablet) or the following day(s).4

    The information provided by patients in the diaries they kept during a clinical study of Qlaira® shows that it is not unusual to experience unexpected bleeding in a given cycle (10–18% of users).4 If unexpected bleeding occurs more than 3 months in a row, or if it begins after some months, refer to the Summary of Product Characteristics for guidance.

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      4. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Patient Information Leaflet [online]. Updated December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536/pil [Last accessed: August 2019].

    Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) is a form of contraception that prevents pregnancy and has demonstrated reliable contraceptive efficacy in women aged 18–50 years with an adjusted Pearl Index of 0.42.5,6Note that no form of contraception is 100% effective.

    If patients are more than 12 hours late taking a tablet, the protection against pregnancy may be reduced. Depending on the day of the cycle on which one tablet has been missed, advise the patient to take additional contraceptive precautions, e.g. a barrier method such as a condom.1

    Likewise, in cases of severe gastrointestinal disturbances (e.g. vomiting or diarrhoea), absorption may not be complete and additional contraceptive measures should be taken.1

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

      5. Nelson A, et al. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2013;18:264–273

      6. Bartsch. Journal of Medical Drug Reviews 2015; 5:1-31

    To assist patients the missed pill rules are printed directly onto the Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest) cycle pack. Patients must be informed that the missed pill rules are different to those for other contraceptive pill regimens.

    If the woman is less than 12 hours late in taking any tablet, contraceptive protection is not reduced. The woman should take the tablet as soon as she remembers and should take further tablets at the usual time.

    If she is more than 12 hours late in taking any tablet, contraceptive protection may be reduced. The woman should take the last missed Qlaira® pill as soon as she remembers, even if this means taking two tablets at the same time. She then continues to take tablets at her usual time.

    Depending on the day of the cycle on which the tablet has been missed (see chart above for details), backup contraceptive measure (e.g. a barrier method such as a condom) have to be used to help prevent pregnancy according to the following principles:

    If a woman has forgotten to start the next packet, or if she has missed one or more tablets during Days 3–9 of the wallet, she may already be pregnant (provided she has had intercourse in the 7 days before the oversight). The more tablets (of those with the two combined active ingredients on Days 3–24) that are missed and the closer they are to the placebo tablet phase, the higher the risk of a pregnancy.

    If the woman missed Qlaira® pills and subsequently has no withdrawal bleed at the end of the wallet/beginning of new wallet, the possibility of a pregnancy should be considered.1

    For information on Qlaira®active tablets and inactive tablets, find more information here.

    Alternative hormonal contraceptives that offer a pill-free method of contraception include Kyleena® (19.5 mg intrauterine delivery system levonorgestrel) and Mirena® (52 mg intrauterine system levonorgestrel).

    The Patient Information Leaflet can be downloaded here.

      1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].

    Recommendations

    Counselling patients

    Read more

    Clinical guidelines

    Read more

    References

    1. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Summary of Product Characteristics [online]. Updated 17 December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536 [Last accessed: August 2019].
    2. Aubeny E, et al. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2002;7:155–161.
    3. MacGregor EA and Guillebaud J. BMJ Sex Reprod Health 2018;44:214–220.
    4. Bayer Plc. Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest): Patient Information Leaflet [online]. Updated December 2018. Available from: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/6536/pil [Last accessed: August 2019].
    5. Nelson A, et al. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care 2013;18:264–273
    6. Bartsch. Journal of Medical Drug Reviews 2015; 5:1-31

    Report Adverse Events
    Adverse events should be reported. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk. Adverse events should also be reported to Bayer plc Tel: 01182063500, Fax: 01182063703, Email: pvuk@bayer.com.


    If You Want to Report a Quality Complaint
    Please report any quality complaint to Bayer Plc Email: qualitycomplaints@bayer.com For more information on how we process any personal data you share with us in relation to the above please see our Privacy Policy.

    • PP-PF-WHC-GB-0263 November 2019

    Copyright © 2019,
    Bayer plc

    This website is intended for UK healthcare professionals only. Women’s Health Matters is organised and funded by Bayer and contains promotional content.

    Prescribing Information (PI) can be found via the links below:
    Mirena® (52 mg intrauterine delivery system Levonorgestrel)
    Kyleena® (19.5 mg intrauterine delivery system Levonorgestrel)
    Jaydess® (13.5 mg intrauterine delivery system Levonorgestrel)
    Qlaira® (estradiol valerate/dienogest)
    Microgynon® (levonorgestrel/ethinylestradiol)

    Page last modified Tue, 06/02/2020 - 04:57

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