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Zelleta Contraceptive Pill
A progesterone-only contraceptive pill (or mini pill) intended for daily use, Zelleta is an excellent contraceptive for women who can’t safely take pills containing oestrogen (such a pill is typically known as a combined pill). If you smoke or have high blood pressure, this pill will allow you to maintain your sex life with no disruption.
If you are over 18 years old and looking for a reliable contraceptive pill, Zelleta is an effective and affordable option for you. To get your prescription of Zelleta at The Independent Pharmacy today, just complete a short consultation with one of our medical team. Once approved, your order will delivered quickly in discreet packaging.
What is Zelleta?
Zelleta is an oral contraceptive pill in a category known as mini pills. These are pills that rely entirely on the active ingredient of progesterone, or at least a synthetic version of it called desogestrel. Synthetic activators of the progesterone receptor are called progestogens, and a progestogen-only contraceptive pill is enough to reliably prevent pregnancy, even if taken up to 12 hours after sex.
What makes the Zelleta contraceptive pill so valuable is that many other contraceptive pills (some of which are listed here) function through the inclusion of oestrogen, a sex hormone (technically a category of sex hormones) that not all women can safely ingest. Going without it affords greater flexibility and convenience. It’s completely safe to use a progestogen-only pill while breastfeeding, for instance.
Zelleta is manufactured by Morningside Healthcare and comes in packs of 84 tablets.
How does Zelleta work?
Zelleta’s active ingredient (75 micrograms of desogestrel) replicates the functionality of progesterone, a natural sex hormone that causes the thickening of cervical mucus. Thickened mucus prevents sperm from entering the uterus and prevents ovulation, stopping pregnancy from occurring in 99% of cases.
How long does Zelleta take to work?
This depends on two things in particular: your position in your menstrual cycle when you start taking it, and whether you’re using Zelleta to replace another contraceptive. If you start using it during your period, for instance, you may need to use additional protection for a week while it takes effect. You’ll find more detail on this in the directions for use further down the page.
Is Zelleta the same pill as Cerezette?
Zelleta, Cerazette and Cerelle are all branded versions of the same progestogen-only pill sold generically as Desogestrel (see Desogestrel 75mcg tablets). Cerazette was the first branded desogestrel progestogen-only contraceptive pill, but more desogestrel progestogen-only pills sprang up after the patent expired, which is why there are now many similar products (such as Feanolla).
- The NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/the-pill-progestogen-only/
- Patient.info: https://patient.info/sexual-health/hormone-pills-patches-and-rings/progestogen-only-contraceptive-pill-pop#nav-4
- Cochrane: https://www.cochrane.org/CD008815/FERTILREG_effects-progestin-only-birth-control-weight
- Zelleta Patient Information Leaflet: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/9572/pil
How to take the Zelleta pill
Zelleta is intended solely as a contraceptive and must be taken orally. You’ll need to get a prescription from a GP to receive your first tablets, but you can order repeat supplies through The Independent Pharmacy provided you meet the basic criteria.
Before you start taking Zelleta, you should read the full directions provided in the Patient Information Leaflet. For your convenience, though, we’ve summarised them below.
- Take one Zelleta mini pill every day (at a similar time, and with a glass of water if needed) until the packet is empty.
- Start each packet on the top row, taking the mini pill that correlates with the right day of the week (this is printed on the pack) and following the direction of the arrows.
- When you finish a pack, which should be every 28 days, you should start a new pack on the next day. It’s important that you don’t take a break.
Note: if you vomit or have severe diarrhoea within 3-4 hours of taking Zelleta, you may not absorb the active ingredient fully and the contraceptive might not be 100% effective.
How should you start taking Zelleta?
You haven’t used any hormonal contraception within the last month.
- Take your first Zelleta pill straight away when your period begins. You won’t need any other contraception.
- If you start Zelleta after the first day of your period, use barrier contraception for 7 days to be safe.
You’re stopping another type of contraceptive. It could be a combined pill, a vaginal ring, a transdermal patch, an injection, an implant, or a hormonal IUS (such as the coil).
- Take your first Zelleta pill straight after the last day using your previous form of contraception, and continue to take one pill each day.
- If you take a break after your previous form of contraception, use barrier conception for 7 days after you start taking Zelleta.
You’re changing from another progestogen-only pill.
- Swap to the Zelleta pill straight after your last day on the other pill. Provided you continue to take one mini pill each day, you’ll have no issues.
You’ve recently given birth
- Take your first Zelleta tablet between 21 and 28 days after the birth of your baby. You won’t need any other contraception.
- If you start taking Zelleta tablets after day 28, use barrier conception for 7 days.
Taking Zelleta while pregnant or breastfeeding
You shouldn’t take any hormonal contraceptives if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. It’s safe to take Zelleta while breastfeeding (vitally, your breast milk will be unaffected), but it’s best to discuss your contraceptive options with a doctor, midwife or health visitor before making a decision (particularly due to the noted elevation, however slight, in risk of developing breast cancer).
What to do when you’ve missed a pill
If 12 hours have passed since you were scheduled to take a Zelleta tablet, or you’ve taken a Zelleta tablet but vomited or suffered a spell of diarrhoea within 3-4 hours, you’re considered to have missed that pill. Unlike with many medications, you should take a mini pill in place of that one as soon as you can, even if you need to take two on the same day to make that happen.
Even if you make up for the missed pill, though, the disruption to your routine will introduce a notable risk. To be careful, you should use barrier contraction for 7 days — and if you had sex while you were overdue for your missed pill, you can use emergency contraception.
Each Zelleta tablet contains 75 micrograms of desogestrel, its one active ingredient. It also contains the following inactive ingredients: lactose anhydrous, potato starch, silica colloidal anhydrous, and stearic acid.
For a full list of ingredients included in Zelleta tablets, please read the Patient Information Leaflet.
Zelleta side effects
Like other medications, Zelleta can produce side effects. All known side effects are listed in the Patient Information Leaflet, and all common side effects are likely to clear up within months. As for other progestogen-only pills, these include the following:
- Period disruption (vaginal bleeding can be constant, inconsistent, or stop entirely).
- Mood changes (anxiety and even depression).
- General discomfort (typically in the form of headaches and nausea).
- Skin oil production (spots and acne outbreaks are possible).
- Breast pain and/or tenderness.
- Loss of sexual appetite.
- Weight gain.
If you experience any severe side effects, suffer an allergic reaction, develop blood clots, or find that mild side effects persist after a few months, get medical assistance.
In addition to taking note of the following warnings, be sure to read the Patient Information Leaflet so you know the full details of Zelleta tablets.
- The Zelleta mini pill, like other hormonal contraceptives, does not protect against any sexually transmitted infections.
- If you suffer from liver disease, diabetes, and/or high blood pressure, you should speak to a doctor before taking Zelleta.
- As a progestogen-only pill, Zelleta contains 75 micrograms of desogestrel which may increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Check your breasts for changes on a regular basis, read up on the symptoms of breast cancer, and see a doctor if you’re concerned.
- In very rare circumstances, Zelleta can increase your risk of developing blood clots. If you notice any symptoms of a blood clot, seek urgent medical attention.
- If you are (or have been) taking other medications (prescription or non-prescription), consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking Zelleta.
Zelleta & acne
One of the most commonly reported side effects of taking a progestogen-only pill is an increase in the production of the skin oil, leading to spots and/or acne outbreaks. Some women, however, experience the opposite, finding that Zelleta actually improves the condition of their skin.
Zelleta & weight gain
Although some women report weight gain as a side effect of taking Zelleta, research into the effects of taking oral contraceptives suggests that there is very little evidence indicating a link. Regardless, if you’re greatly concerned about your weight, you should discuss the matter with a doctor or practice nurse. They should be able to provide you with some relevant assistance.
Zelleta & period changes
It’s very common for women who take Zelleta to experience changes to their menstrual cycles. Many women will see their periods stop altogether while taking their daily pills, while others will experience irregular bleeding. These issues are likely to stop within a few months.
If you continue to experience vaginal bleeding (whether constant or irregular) after taking Zelleta contraceptive pills for a few months, seek advice from a doctor, pharmacist, or nurse.