What is Cerelle?
Cerelle is a contraceptive pill that is used to prevent pregnancy.
Cerelle is a progesterone-only pill (also known as a POP or “mini-pill”) containing the synthetic hormone desogestrel. Desogestrel prevents pregnancy by stopping the female body from ovulating and by making it harder for sperm to reach the egg.
Cerelle can be an excellent hormonal contraceptive option if you are a woman who can not use products containing oestrogen or if you are currently breastfeeding and looking for a reliable oral contraceptive.
Cerelle is manufactured by Consilient Health and comes in boxes of 84 tablets.
Cerelle is a prescription-only medication. You can order Cerelle online using an online doctor or pharmacy service like The Independent Pharmacy. UK registered doctors will be able to prescribe you this contraceptive pill if you want to start using it.
How does Cerelle work?
Cerelle contains one active ingredient called desogestrel. Desogestrel is a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progesterone.
Desogestrel works in two ways to prevent pregnancy: firstly, desogestrel thickens cervical mucus making it harder for sperm to enter the uterus. Secondly: It stops eggs from being released, therefore stops ovulation.
How effective is Cerelle?
When taken as directed in the Patient Information Leaflet, Cerelle is highly effective as a progesterone-only contraceptive pill and prevents pregnancy in around 99% of users.
Periods & bleeding whilst taking Cerelle
Most women, who take Cerelle or any other mini-pill, will experience changes to their periods, particularly when they first move to Cerelle. However, most irregular bleeding will resolve within the first few months.
It is also not uncommon for some women to experience no monthly period for the entire time they take Cerelle.
If you carry on experiencing constant bleeding, spotting or irregular bleeding after the first few months of taking Cerelle, or if you are worried at all, speak to a doctor, pharmacist or nurse for advice.
Does Cerelle cause weight gain?
Weight gain is a more commonly reported side effect of taking Cerelle, alongside other oral contraceptive pills. However, there is very little evidence to suggest that there is a definite link between the pill and weight gain.
If you are taking Cerelle or any other hormonal contraceptive and you are worried about your weight, you should discuss this with a doctor or practice nurse.
Does Cerelle cause acne?
Cerelle doesn’t cause acne, but it may make existing acne worse for some users.
Cerelle and other hormonal contraceptive pills may cause some women to experience increased breakouts or spots. This is because the hormone progesterone causes the skin to increase its production of sebum, an oily substance that protects and hydrates your skin. Too much sebum causes pores to become blocked, causing acne problems.
Some women will find that their condition settles after a few months of taking Cerelle.
If you continue to experience acne breakouts and skin problems and you think they are related to taking Cerelle, speak to your doctor. They may suggest moving you to alternative methods of contraception, such as a combined contraceptive pill, or non-hormonal contraceptive options.
Coming off Cerelle
If you decide that you no longer want to take Cerelle and are not planning on taking any other form of oral contraception, you can stop taking your tablets whenever you choose.
You will no longer be protected against pregnancy and should use a barrier method of contraception such as condoms if you do not want to get pregnant.
If you are coming off Cerelle and switching to another form of contraception, you should discuss how to do this correctly with a doctor, pharmacist or nurse.
Cerelle vs Cerazette
Cerazette is a different brand of the progesterone-only-pill, which also contains the ingredient desogestrel. Both Cerazette and Cerelle work in the same way to stop ovulation and pregnancy.
Cerazette was the first progesterone-only pill that was made only containing desogestrel. The patent on Cerazette has since lapsed, and now many pharmaceutical companies make oral contraceptives using generic desogestrel 75mcg, including Feanolla and Zelleta.
Contraception and contraceptive pill options
There are many different types of contraception available, including both oral birth control and other methods.
Some alternative methods of contraception are:
- The combined pill
- Progesterone-only pills (POPs or mini-pills)
- The implant
- Barrier contraceptives such as condoms
- Intrauterine devices (IUD)/ the copper coil
- Intrauterine system (IUS)/ a hormonal coil
- Vaginal rings
- Emergency contraception (not for regular use)
Not all contraceptive methods are suitable for everyone. You can find out more about the benefits and potential negatives of each contraceptive option on the NHS website, or speak to your doctor or a sexual health clinic for more information.
The progestogen-only pill (mini pill)
Each Cerelle tablet contains the active substance: desogestrel (in a 75 micrograms dose).
This is the same active ingredient as a few other mini-pills such as generic Desogestrel, Zelleta, and Feanolla.
If you can’t get hold of Cerelle for any reason, you can use one of the above alternatives in the same way.
There are other progestogen-only pills that use different synthetic hormones to desogestrel as a progesterone replacement. If you experience side effects from desogestrel-based POPs, your doctor may suggest switching to one of these.
The combined pill
The combined pill — which is commonly known as “the pill” — contains two different hormones, oestrogen and progesterone.
You can read more about different types of contraceptive pills over on our dedicated contraceptive pill page.