HOW DO YOU TAKE DESOGESTREL?
One tablet should be taken at same time each day, starting on day 1 of cycle then taken continuously with no breaks to prevent pregnancy. The packs are taken back-to-back without a break, including during your period. Many females won’t have their period at all while on desogestrel tablets which is normal. You should swallow the tablet whole, with water.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU FORGET TO TAKE THIS PILL?
If you forget to take this pill, you still have a 12-hour window in which it can be taken and still protect you from pregnancy. This is a longer window than most other mini pills. You should take the pill as soon as you remember and then take the next pill at the normal time – even if this may mean you take 2 pills in one day.
If you forget to take a pill within 12 hours of your usual time, you will not be protected against pregnancy and this is counted as a ‘missed pill’. You should still continue to take your pills as usual, but use an additional form of contraception (such as condoms) for the next two days.
If you did have unprotected sexual intercourse during this time, you may need an emergency contraception – also sometimes known as the plan B or morning after pill. This should be discussed with your doctor, nurse or local pharmacist to ensure you receive the right treatment within the correct time frame.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
This medication is a progestogen-only mini pill containing the active ingredient desogestrel, which is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. Cerazette is the branded version, whilst desogestrel is the generic version and they both contain the same active ingredient and work in the same way.
Most progestogen-only pills (POPs) work primarily by preventing the sperm cells from entering the womb but they do not always prevent the egg cell from ripening, which is the main way that combined pills work. The desogestrel pill is different from most POPs as in most cases it prevents the egg cell from ripening, which is why it is a highly effective contraceptive tablet.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?
Desogestrel when used correctly can be up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. However, it should be started on day 1-5 of your period to immediately protected against pregnancy. If you vomit within 3-4 hours after taking this medication or are suffering from severe diarrhoea you may not be protected against pregnancy. If this happens, you should consult a qualified doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice as additional measures may need to be taken.
It is important to note that no contraceptive pill is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and no contraceptive pill can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENT BRANDS OF THIS TREATMENT?
Cerazette is the branded version of this medication. The generic form is called desogestrel and there are other names such as Cerelle, Desomono, Desorex, Feanolla, Moonia and Zelleta. All of which contain the same active ingredient desogestrel and work in the exact same way and may be more cost-effective.
CAN DESOGESTREL BE USED TO STOP YOUR PERIODS?
Most women will not have their period at all while on desogestrel, but others may still experience regular, lighter, more frequent or longer periods.
WHAT ARE THE DESOGESTREL SIDE EFFECTS?
Desogestrel, like all medications can cause certain side-effects, although not all patients will experience these. Some side effects include: headaches, skin reactions, feeling sick (nausea), mood swings, depressed mood and breast sensitivity.
More serious adverse reactions may include:
- An allergic reaction (hypersensitivity) which may include swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat causing difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- Thrombosis (formation of a blood clot, which may block a blood vessel)
- Breast cancer (check for lumps in your breast)
- Menstrual irregularities or unusual or persistent bleeding
- Liver problems such as jaundice (which can show as yellowing of the skin, the whites of the eyes or dark urine)
- Sudden or severe pain in the lower abdomen or stomach area which could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy
In all cases you should seek prompt medical attention if you experience any side effects to this treatment.
For further information on side effects of this medication, please see the patient information leaflet.
You should talk to your doctor, pharmacist or Family Planning Nurse if you get any side effects to this medication. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
CAN I TAKE DESOGESTREL TABLETS WHEN ON OTHER MEDICATION?
Like most medication, there are always potential interactions so it is always important to consult your doctor, pharmacist or Family Planning Nurse if you are taking any other medication to make sure it is suitable with desogestrel.
This is as some medication:
- can have an influence on the blood levels of desogestrel
- can make it less effective in preventing pregnancy
- can cause unexpected bleeding
CAN I USE DESOGESTREL IF I AM BREAST-FEEDING?
Progestogen-only contraceptives such as desogestrel do not affect lactation and can be taken during breast-feeding. Small amounts of the hormone in desogestrel may pass into the baby’s bloodstream through breast milk, but this won’t affect them or impact the way breast milk is produced. Whilst it can be taken during breast-feeding, if you are breast-feeding, we may not be able to issue it through our online service.
WHAT ARE THE TWO MAIN KINDS OF HORMONAL CONTRACEPTIVE TABLETS?
The two main kinds of hormonal contraceptive tablets include:
- The combined pill, known as “The Pill”, which contains 2 types of female sex hormone an oestrogen and a progestogen
- The progestogen-only pill, POP, which doesn’t contain an oestrogen such as desogestrel
CAN SMOKERS USE DESOGESTREL?
As desogestrel is a mini-pill containing a progesterone hormone only, it is safer to use in than the combined contraceptive pill.
CAN I BUY CERAZETTE OR DESOGESTREL ONLINE?
Desogestrel and Cerazette are prescription-only medications which can be bought online from a suitable service such as PostMyMeds. Before you can buy desogestrel online, you will need to undergo a consultation form to ensure it is safe and suitable for your use.
OTHER CONTRACEPTIVE OPTIONS
There are other contraceptive options. Condoms are also an option which can help prevent pregnancies and protect from STIs. There are also other contraceptive options including longer acting contraceptives which should be available through your GP or family planning clinic, including implants, the coil and injectable contraception.