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|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|
|Use with alcohol||No known issues|
Desorex Pill information
What is Desorex?
Desorex is a 12-hour progesterone-only contraceptive pill (sometimes known as the ‘mini-pill’) that is up 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken daily. It contains desogestrel, a synthetic sex hormone that works by preventing ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
Desogestrel provides a larger 12-hour window for a missed pill compared to traditional progesterone-only pills (POPs), which typically only offer a 3-hour window for taking a missed pill.
What is Desorex desogestrel used for?
Desorex is taken to prevent pregnancy in women aged 18 and above, and has a 99% success rate when taken properly. Because it contains only one hormone, Desorex is ideal for women who smoke, are overweight, are over 35 years old, or have conditions such as blood clots, migraines, or high blood pressure. This is because the risk of side effects is lower with Desorex and other progesterone-only pills (POPs) compared to contraception containing two hormones, such as the combined pill.
In addition to preventing pregnancy, Desorex can also help regulate menstrual cycles, reduce menstrual cramps, and make periods lighter. It may also be used to treat conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Desorex is also an ideal contraceptive option for women who can’t tolerate pills containing oestrogen.
How does Desorex work?
Desorex contains desogestrel, a synthetic hormone that mimics the effects of natural progesterone in the body. It works by preventing ovulation, stopping an egg from being released by the ovaries during the menstrual cycle. This makes it impossible for sperm to fertilise an egg and prevents pregnancy.
Desorex also thickens the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach an egg. This further reduces the likelihood of fertilisation. The hormone can also affect the lining of the uterus, making it less receptive to a fertilised egg, which means that even if fertilisation does occur, it’s less likely that the fertilised egg will implant in the uterus.
What kind of pill is Desorex?
Desorex is what’s known as a mini-pill or POP (progesterone-only pill). The mini-pill contains only one hormone, either desogestrel (as with Desorex) or norethindrone, both of which are synthetic forms of the hormone progesterone. Because the mini-pill only contains progesterone, it’s a good choice for women who are sensitive to oestrogen or have a history of blood clots.
On the other hand, the combined pill contains both oestrogen and progestogen. The combination of hormones works in a similar way to the mini-pill, but also has other benefits, such as reducing acne, regulating periods, and reducing the risk of certain cancers. However, the combined pill is less suited for those with a history of blood clots, breast cancer, or liver disease.
Ultimately, the choice between the mini-pill and the combined pill will depend on a variety of factors, including your medical history, lifestyle, and personal preferences. It's important to talk to a healthcare provider to discuss the benefits and risks of each option and to determine which one is right for you.
What is a progesterone-only pill?
A progesterone-only pill (also known as the mini-pill, progestin-only pill, or progesterone-only pill) is a type of hormonal contraceptive that contains only one hormone, progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone.
Unlike combined pills, which contain both oestrogen and progestin, the mini-pill only contains progestin. It works by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and also makes it harder for a fertilised egg to implant in the uterus.
Are desogestrel and Desorex the same?
Yes — Desorex contains desogestrel as its active ingredient, and is simply a branded version of generic desogestrel. Other brands of progesterone-only pills also contain desogestrel, but while they contain the same active ingredient, they may use different brand names, such as Cerazette or Zelleta.
What's the difference between progesterone, progestogen, and progestin?
Progesterone, progestogen, and progestin are three related but slightly different terms used to describe hormones that have similar effects on the body.
- Progesterone is a naturally-occurring hormone that is produced by the ovaries in women and by the adrenal glands in both men and women. It plays a key role in the menstrual cycle and is important for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
- Progestogen is a general term used to describe any hormone that has progesterone-like effects on the body. This includes both natural progesterone and synthetic versions of the hormone.
- Progestin is a specific type of synthetic progestogen that is commonly used in hormonal contraceptives. It is designed to mimic the effects of progesterone on the body but may have slight differences in its chemical structure and activity.
While all three terms refer to hormones with similar effects, they are not interchangeable. Progesterone refers specifically to the natural hormone produced by the body, while progestogen is a broader term that includes both natural and synthetic versions of the hormone. Progestin is a specific type of synthetic progestogen that is commonly used in hormonal contraceptives.
You may see Desorex (and other pills containing desogestrel or norethindrone) referred to as progesterone-only pills, progesterone-only pills, or progestin-only pills. This is why you’ll often see the term shortened to POP.
How do I take Desorex?
You can start the progesterone-only pill at any time in your menstrual cycle, but it’s best to pick a convenient time of day to start your course, as you need to take Desorex at the same time every day to maintain its effectiveness. Desorex may be taken with or without food, but should be swallowed whole and never crushed.
If you’re switching from another form of contraception (such as the implant or combined pill) make sure your pharmacist is aware of this, and that you study the Patient Information Leaflet carefully.
Once you’ve started your course, continue to take your pill at the same time every day until the pack is finished. The days of the week are printed on the blister foil. Arrows are printed on both sides for clear directions and indicate the order in which to take the tablets. Each day corresponds to one tablet.
Every time you start a new strip of Desorex, take a tablet from the top row. For example, if you start on a Wednesday, you must take the tablet from the top row marked (on the back) with WED.
- If you start taking Desorex on the first day of your menstrual cycle it will work straight away, and you’ll be protected against pregnancy without the need for extra contraception.
- If you start your course of Desorex on day 5 of your menstrual cycle or earlier, you’ll be protected from pregnancy straight away. However, if you have a short menstrual cycle (meaning your period occurs every 23 days or less) you’ll need extra contraception until you’ve taken the pill for 2 days.
- Desorex can be started on any day of the menstrual cycle, but if started after the fifth day of the menstrual cycle, additional contraception such as condoms should be used until you’ve taken Desorex for 2 days.
If you miss a desogestrel pill, take it as soon as you remember, even if it means taking two pills in one day. You should then continue taking the pills as usual. If you miss more than one pill, or if you are unsure what to do, you should consult your GP or pharmacist.
The active ingredient in each Desorex pill is: desogestrel 75 mcg.
The inactive ingredients are: lactose monohydrate, maize starch, povidone PVP K-30, stearic acid, all-rac-alpha-tocopherol, silica, colloidal anhydrous, Tabcoat TC-White(Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose, Polyethylene Glycol, Talc, Titanium Dioxide).
Desorex Patient Information Leaflet
Desorex side effects
Just like any other medication, Desorex may bring about some unwanted effects to certain individuals. However, these effects typically subside after the first few months of use.
It is highly recommended that you acquaint yourself with all the potential side effects outlined in the Patient Information Leaflet before commencing the use of Desorex tablets.
Common side effects (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):
- Mood changes
- Depressed mood
- Decreased sexual drive (libido)
- Breast pain
- Irregular or no periods
- Weight increase
Uncommon side effects (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):
- Infection of the vagina
- Difficulties in wearing contact lenses
- Hair loss
- Painful periods
- Ovarian cysts
Rare side effects (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people)
Skin conditions such as:
- Painful blue-red skin lumps (erythema nodosum).
If you experience severe side effects or an allergic reaction while taking Desorex seek immediate medical advice from a doctor or your nearest hospital.
Please read the Patient Information Leaflet for full details on the warnings and precautions associated with Desorex tablets. We’ve included some key warnings below:
- Like other hormonal contraceptives, Desorex can increase the risk of blood clots. Seek medical advice immediately if you experience symptoms such as swelling, pain, or tenderness in your legs, chest pain, or difficulty breathing.
- Some studies have suggested that the use of a progesterone-only pill like Desorex may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. However, this risk is considered minor and returns to normal within a few years after stopping the pill.
- If you become pregnant while taking Desorex, there is an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus). Seek medical advice immediately if you experience severe abdominal pain, dizziness, or fainting.
- Women with liver problems should use Desorex with caution, as it can exacerbate existing liver conditions.
- Some medications, including certain antibiotics and herbal remedies, can affect the effectiveness of Desorex. It is important to inform your healthcare provider of all medications you are taking.
- Desorex does not provide any kind of protection against sexually transmitted infections or diseases.
- Desorex may not be suitable for women with a history of depression, migraines, or heart problems. Women with diabetes or high cholesterol should also be monitored closely while taking Desorex.
Talk to your doctor, or pharmacist before taking Desorex if:
- You have ever had breast cancer.
- You have liver cancer.
- You have ever had thrombosis.
- You have diabetes.
- You suffer from epilepsy.
- You suffer from tuberculosis.
- You have high blood pressure.
- You have or have had chloasma (yellowish-brown pigmentation patches on the skin particularly of the face); if so, avoid too much exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation.
Does Desorex stop periods?
It’s fairly common for women to experience changes in their menstrual cycle while taking desogestrel. Some may experience irregular periods, while others may have lighter or heavier periods. In some cases, periods may stop altogether.
However, Desorex isn’t suitable as a reliable method of stopping your periods. For help with delaying your period, visit our period delay treatment page. If you have any concerns about changes to your menstrual cycle while taking desogestrel, it's recommended that you speak to your doctor.
Does Desorex make you gain weight?
Weight gain isn’t a common side effect of Desorex. However, it's important to note that individual responses to medication can vary, and a minority of people may experience some weight gain while taking Desorex.
If you are concerned about weight gain or any of the other potential side effects of Desorex listed below, it’s best to speak to your doctor or pharmacist for advice. They can provide you with more detailed information about the possible effects of Desorex and help you make an informed decision about whether it's the right medication for you.