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Home / Contraception / Mini Pill / Desogestrel

Desogestrel

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What is Desogestrel?

Desogestrel is a synthetic version of progesterone, a female sex hormone. It is used in hormonal contraception in women, specifically in birth control pills. It is used alone in progestogen-only pills (POP or the "mini-pill") and in combination with oestrogens in combined oral contraceptive pills (COCP). These are taken to prevent pregnancy.

Desogestrel is the active ingredient and generic medication found in progesterone-only pills such as Cerazette, Desogestrel Aristo, Solgest, Limetic, Lemena, Delamonie and Azalia. Generic medications are the same as their branded counterparts but are generally more affordable.

How does it work?

Desogestrel works in two different ways to prevent pregnancy. It thickens the mucus in the cervix (so sperm cannot reach an egg). It also prevents an egg from being released from the ovaries (ovulation). If there is no egg, there is nothing for the sperm to fertilise. This combination makes it very unlikely that you will become pregnant.

Graphic showing how Desogestrel protects against pregnancy

When taken correctly, the mini pill is 99% effective Trusted source Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) Government Source Go to source . However, many people don’t take this perfectly so it's usually around 91% effective.

How should it be taken?

Desogestrel 75 microgram tablets come in packs of 28 tablets.

To take this form of contraception correctly, you should:

  • take one tablet daily within 12 hours of the same time each day
  • take the tablet whole with water (do not break, crush or chew it)
  • continue taking the tablets until you finish the pack, then immediately move on to the next pack (there's no break between packs of pills)

Always use this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. If you are unsure about how to take this, check with your doctor or pharmacist.

You can start taking Desogestrel at any time during your menstrual cycle.

If you start it between days 1 to 5 of your menstrual cycle (the first 5 days of your period), you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. You will not need to use additional contraception.

However, if you start it on any other day of your cycle, you will not be protected from pregnancy straight away and will need to use additional contraception methods (such as condoms) until you have taken the pill for 7 consecutive days.

What happens if I miss a pill?

For your pill to work, it is important to remember to take your pill daily. You should not take it more than 12 hours after your usual time as this increases the risk of getting pregnant.

If you miss a Desogestrel pill and are less than 12 hours late:

Take the missed pill as soon as you remember and take the next one at the usual time. You will still be protected from pregnancy.

If you are more than 12 hours late in taking any pill:

Take a pill as soon as you remember and take your next pill at the usual time. This may mean taking two pills in one day, this isn't harmful. If this happens, you're not protected from pregnancy. To regain protection continue to take your pills as usual but use an additional method of contraception, such as condoms, for the next seven days.

Who can/cannot use Desogestrel?

The mini pill is suitable for many women and is often appropriate for more women than the combined pill. Unlike the combined contraceptive pill, this mini-pill is usually suitable if you cannot use contraception containing oestrogen or if you are over 35 years old and smoke.

If you are healthy and have no risk factors, you can take it until menopause or until you are 55.

You should not take Desogestrel if you:

  • are or think you might be pregnant
  • are allergic to desogestrel
  • have a blood clot in a blood vessel
  • have or have had jaundice (yellowing of the skin) or liver disease
  • have or may have certain types of cancer e.g. breast cancer
  • have any unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • have heart disease or have had a stroke
  • take certain medications (e.g., some treatments for epilepsy and HIV)

If any of these conditions apply to you, talk to your doctor. There are many alternative contraceptive options available, including non-hormonal methods.

What precautions should I take?

To ensure Desogestrel is safe for you, inform your doctor if:

  • you have ever had breast cancer or liver cancer
  • you have ever had a thrombosis
  • you have medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy or high blood pressure
  • you have tuberculosis
  • you have or have had a skin condition called chloasma

It is important to tell your healthcare professional about other medicines you take. These include both prescription and non-prescription medicines.

Desogestrel may interact with some medications, and some medicines can reduce its effectiveness. These include:

  • some medications to treat HIV
  • some medications for epilepsy
  • herbal remedies (e.g. St John’s Wort)
  • rifabutin
  • rifampicin
  • bosentan

This is not a complete list of interactions, for a full list, please refer to the patient information leaflet included with your order.

What are Desogestrel’s side effects?

Like with all medications, there’s a chance you might experience some side effects with Desogestrel, these generally tend to be mild and may go away over time.

Common side effects of Desogestrel
  • Skin changes (such as acne)
  • Sore breasts
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Mood changes
  • Weight changes
  • Changes in libido

Some women also experience changes to their periods or experience irregular bleeding. Your periods may become more or less frequent or stop altogether. This also tends to settle down with time.

If you find these side effects difficult to manage, or if they do not go away with time, you can talk to your doctor about changing to a different pill.

For a full list of potential side effects, please consult the patient information leaflet.

Can I buy Desogestrel tablets online?

You can buy the contraceptive pill, Desogestrel online here at euroClinix safely and discreetly. Once you've chosen your treatment, all you need to do is complete a short, free online consultation.

Our qualified doctors will review your request. If this method of birth control is a good contraceptive option for you, you will be issued a prescription. This prescription is then passed onto our registered pharmacy which will deliver the medication to your chosen address.

Note: You must complete a short online consultation so that our doctor can ensure that the treatment is suitable for you. The above pricing should only be used as a reference. The final decision to issue this treatment lies with the prescribing doctor.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Caroline Fontana Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 07-02-2024
Desogestrel information
Product name Desogestrel
Active ingredient(s) Desogestrel
Manufacturer Various
Trustpilot rating 3/5
Trustpilot reviews 2
Availability Out of stock
Description An effective hormonal contraceptive pill to protect against pregnancy
Exemption Prescription-only medicine
Administration Oral
Presentation Tablet
Available dosage 75mcg
Application Protects against pregnancy in women
Drug class Progestogen-only pill (POP)
Alcohol consumption No interaction
When pregnant Do not use
When breastfeeding May be prescribed, consult your doctor
Desogestrel reviews
Average 3 2 patients have reviewed Desogestrel on Trustpilot

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