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Desogestrel 75mcg Tablets Summary
|Type of medicine||Progesterone-Only Contraceptive Pill|
|Works by||Prevents ovulation and thickens cervical mucus|
|Effective within||Up to 7 days|
|Pack size||84 tablets|
|Manufacturer||Lupin Healthcare, Morningside|
|Use with alcohol||No known issues|
What is Desogestrel and what is it used for?
Desogestrel is a type of contraceptive pill.
Desogestrel tablets are a POP — a progesterone-only pill — containing the synthetic hormone desogestrel, which stops the female body ovulating, to prevent pregnancy.
Desogestrel 75mcg tablets are taken every day without a break and can be taken up to 12 hours late and still continue to be effective as birth control. Desogestrel is a great contraceptive option for women who do not get on well with products containing oestrogen and by women who are breastfeeding.
Progesterone-only pills or POPs are sometimes called the “mini-pill”.
What does Desogestrel do?
Desogestrel is a synthetic form of the female sex hormone, progesterone.
It is a relatively new form of contraceptive which works similarly to old forms of POP by thickening the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to pass through the uterus to fertilise an egg.
In addition, new forms of POP such as desogestrel prevent the egg from being able to ripen, which stops most women from ovulating as the egg is unable to be released by the ovary.
Desogestrel & acne
One of the more commonly reported side effects of taking Desogestrel is that it can increase your chances of experiencing acne due to the skin producing more oil. For some women, however, they will find that taking Desogestrel 75mcg helps to improve the condition of their skin.
Like many other medications, Desogestrel can affect people in different ways, but most side effects should improve in the first few months. If you continue to experience or are concerned about any side effects, you should discuss this with a doctor or pharmacist.
Desogestrel & weight gain
Weight gain is a more commonly reported side effect of taking POPs, including Desogestrel.
Research into the effects of taking oral contraceptives, however, shows that there is very little evidence to suggest a genuine link between the pill and weight gain.
If you are taking Desogestrel, or any other contraceptive, and you are concerned about your weight, you should discuss this with a doctor or practice nurse.
Periods & bleeding on Desogestrel
Most women, who take Desogestrel or any other POP, will experience changes to their periods. These changes can vary from person to person, but usually your menstrual cycle will settle within the first few months. It is not uncommon for some women to experience no monthly period while taking Desogestrel.
If you continue to experience constant bleeding, spotting or irregular bleeding after the first few months of taking Desogestrel, or you are concerned, you should speak to a doctor, pharmacist or nurse for advice.
Is Desogestrel the same as Cerazette?
There isn’t really any difference between Desogestrel and Cerazette.
Cerazette is a branded version of the progesterone-only-pill, Desogestrel. Desogestrel and Cerazette both only contain the active ingredient desogestrel 75 micrograms, and work in the same way to prevent ovulation and pregnancy.
Cerazette was the first POP containing solely desogestrel. However, the patent on this pill has now expired and many pharmaceutical companies are able to make generic desogestrel 75mcg tablets.
There are quite a few different progestogen-only pill brands, but they are all essentially the same.
Desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol (combined oral contraceptive)
Desogestrel is a contraceptive pill that contains only a synthetic version of the sex hormone, progesterone. This type of one-hormone oral birth control is called a progesterone-only pill or POP.
It is also possible to get combined oral contraceptive pills that contain both desogestrel (a synthetic version of naturally-made progesterone), and a form of the sex hormone oestrogen, called ethinylestradiol.
There are a few different types of desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol pills, such as Mercilon.
You can start your online consultation and buy combined oral contraceptives from The Independent Pharmacy.
For more information and to browse our range of oral birth control pills, visit our dedicated contraceptive pill page.
Desogestrel vs combined oral contraceptives (& other alternatives)
It’s hard to directly compare progesterone-only pills like Desogestrel and combined hormonal contraceptives, because everyone has different experiences with hormonal birth control. However, many women who are prescribed Desogestrel have positive experiences and don’t experience side effects.
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 (with varying hormone types and strengths)
- Other progesterone-only pills (with different synthetic progesterone used, and different strengths to Desogestrel)
- The implant
- Barrier contraceptives ie condoms
- Intrauterine devices (IUD) — the copper coil
- Intrauterine system (IUS) — a hormonal coil
- Vaginal rings
- Emergency contraception (not for regular use)
Not all options are suitable for everyone. If you aren’t sure about the benefits and potential negatives of each contraceptive method, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor about which would be best for you.
How to take Desogestrel
Before taking Desogestrel, you must ensure that you have read and understood how to take Desogestrel, which is detailed in the Patient Information Leaflet.
Desogestrel is for oral use only, to prevent pregnancy. It can be prescribed online by our medical team at The Independent Pharmacy for women over the age of 18 years who are currently prescribed it by their GP.
Take 1 Desogestrel tablet every day at the same time with a glass of water until the packet is empty.
Start each new packet on the top row and take the tablet that correlates with the right day of the week printed on the pack over each tablet.
When you finish a pack, start a new pack in the same way at the same time the next day. You should not take a break between packs.
How do you start taking Desogestrel?
If you are not currently or have not used any hormonal contraception in the past month:
- You should wait for your period to begin and take your first Desogestrel tablet on the first day of your period.
- You will not need to use any additional contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.
- If you start Desogestrel any time after day 1 of your period, use a barrier method of contraception such as a condom for 7 days.
If you are switching from a combined pill, vaginal ring or transdermal patch:
- Take the first Desogestrel tablet the first day after your tablet, ring or patch-free break of your present contraceptive, and use additional barrier contraception such as condoms for 7 days.
- Do not have a tablet, ring or patch-free break, and start taking your first Desogestrel tablet the day after you take your last tablet from your present pack, or on the day of removal of your vaginal ring or patch. You will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
If you are changing from any other progestogen-only-pill:
- You can switch on any day and you will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
If you are changing from an injection or implant or hormonal IUS such as the coil:
- Start your first Desogestrel tablet the day your next injection is due, or on the day that your implant or your IUS is removed. You will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
If you are using Desogestrel after having a baby:
- You can start taking Desogestrel between 21 and 28 days after the birth of your baby and will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
- If you start taking Desogestrel tablets after day 28, you must use additional barrier contraception such as condoms, during the first 7 days.
Desogestrel missed pill
If you miss a Desogestrel pill for whatever reason, it might mean that you are not protected and you may need to use another method of contraception.
Below we’ve outlined a couple of different scenarios so that you can establish whether you are covered or not by Desogestrel.
If you are over 12 hours late taking your Desogestrel tablet, you vomit or have diarrhoea within three to four hours, this counts as a missed pill. Therefore:
- You should take the missed pill as soon as you remember or as soon as you feel better and then continue to take your pills at the usual time the next day. You may need to take two on the same day.
- You may not be completely protected from pregnancy so you should use a barrier method of contraception such as a condom for seven days.
- If you are more than 12 hours late taking your pill and have had sex, you can use emergency contraception to protect you from pregnancy.
If you are less than 12 hours late taking your Desogestrel tablet:
- Take the missed pill as soon as you remember and take the next tablet at the usual time.
- You will still be protected from pregnancy.
If you are unsure at all, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
It’s generally a good idea to find out what is in any medicine before you start taking it, particularly if you have any known allergies.
Below is a list of Desogestrel ingredients (both active and inactive) that this progesterone-only contraceptive pill contains.
Each Desogestrel tablet contains the active ingredient desogestrel in a 75 mcg dose.
The inactive ingredients are:
- Lactose monohydrate
- Povidone K30 (E1201)
- D-α-tocopherol (E307)
- Soybean oil
- Colloidal hydrated (E551)
- Stearic acid (E570)
- Hypromellose 2910 (E464)
- Titanium dioxide (E171)
Warning: generic desogestrel tablets may contain soy.
You should not use Desogestrel if you are allergic to desogestrel or any of the other ingredients of this medicine.
For a full list of ingredients included in Desogestrel tablets, please read the Patient Information Leaflet. Please read all packaging and the Patient Information Leaflet included with this medicine before taking it.
Desogestrel side effects
As with any type of medication, Desogestrel may cause some people to experience side effects.
Not everyone who uses this progesterone-only pill will experience side effects. In fact, low dose oral contraceptive POPs like Desogestrel tend to have fewer and milder symptoms for some users compared to other types of hormonal birth control such as the combined pill. Progestogen-only pills may be prescribed to people who have had unpleasant side effects from combined oral contraceptives (such as severe mood swings or depression).
If you do experience adverse effects from Desogestrel, they should normally improve after the first few months of starting these tablets.
The most commonly reported side effects associated with Desogestrel are as follows:
- Changes to menstrual cycle, such as irregular periods, spotting (also known as breakthrough bleeding) or no periods at all
- Mood changes (such as low mood)
- Decreased sexual drive
- Breast pain and tenderness
- Weight increase
If you are concerned about any side effects or you find they do not improve after the first few months (or after you stop using Desogestrel), you should speak to a doctor, pharmacist or nurse for advice.
If you experience severe side effects or an allergic reaction while taking Desogestrel you should get immediate medical advice from a doctor or your nearest emergency department.
Before taking Desogestrel tablets, you should take time to familiarise yourself with all side effects detailed in the Patient Information Leaflet.
Please read the Patient Information Leaflet for full details on the warnings and precautions associated with Desogestrel tablets.
- Desogestrel, like other hormonal contraceptives, does not protect against any sexually transmitted disease or infection.
- Speak to a doctor before taking Desogestrel if you suffer from liver disease, diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Desogestrel, like other hormonal oral contraceptives, may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. You should ensure you regularly check your breasts for irregularities and see a doctor if you are concerned.
- Desogestrel in rare cases can slightly increase your chances of developing blood clots or pulmonary embolism. If you think you have symptoms of a blood clot you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
- If you are currently or have recently been taking any other prescribed or non-prescribed medication you should speak to a doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking Desogestrel.
- Always ensure that you keep up to date with your annual contraceptive reviews with your GP whilst using the contraceptive pill or any other hormonal type of birth control.
Desogestrel and breast cancer
As with any hormonal contraceptive, there is thought to be an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
However, this risk is very small, and there is still research being carried out to establish the link between breast cancer and use of the progestogen-only pill.
Regularly checking your breasts is important, whether you take any oral contraceptives or not. If you do notice any irregularities or something doesn’t seem right, raise your concerns with your doctor. The earlier breast cancer diagnosed, the more likely it is to be treated successfully.
Desogestrel: pregnancy and breastfeeding
You should not take Desogestrel if you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Speak to a doctor if you think you have taken Desogestrel during pregnancy.
You can take Desogestrel while you are breast-feeding, but you should discuss your contraceptives options with a doctor, your midwife or health visitor.
Desogestrel and other drugs
On the whole, there are not many clinically proven drug interactions with Desogestrel that you need to worry about. Desogestrel is safe and effective to take alongside many other medications.
However, as with starting any new medication, consult your doctor first before taking Desogestrel. Make sure they know of any existing medication you are taking, or any health conditions you have such as high blood pressure, epilepsy or diabetes. Some of these treatments may cause hormonal contraceptives like Desogestrel to become less effective.