The progesterone-only contraceptive etynodiol diacetate (Brand name Femulen®) is currently the only oral contraceptive available which is both gluten-free and lactose-free.
However, manufacturers do sometimes change the ingredients, so it is important to always check the ingredients of the packet before taking the medication, and contact the manufacturer if you are unsure.
Lactose is often used to sugar coat tablets, and can be found listed as an 'inactive' or 'excipient' ingredient on the packaging and information leaflet. If in doubt, you can ask your pharmacist for help reading the ingredients.
Starches, containing gluten, are also often used as an excipient in tablets as they absorb water, making the tablet swell up and disintegrate once swallowed.
Caution: Even if the product is originally gluten-free at the start of manufacture, it may become cross-contaminated during the manufacture process (perhaps because of the manufacture of a medicine in the same premises that does contain gluten).
To rule out any doubt about the presence of an ingredient you should always contact the manufacturer of the medicine direct. Use the contact details listed on the information leaflet and packaging provided with the medicine. You can always ask your pharmacist to help you do this.
Other forms of contraception
If, after talking with your doctor, you decide that etynodiol diacetate (Femulen®) is not suitable for you, then you may wish to talk to your doctor and consider other lactose and gluten-free forms of contraception. These include:
Injections of progestogen
Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
Intrauterine systems (IUSs)
Barrier methods of contraception, including diaphragms, condoms and cervical caps.
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diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your
physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere.
If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.