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  • Daily mini pill 
  • 99% effective when taken correctly 
  • Suitable for smokers over 35 


Desogestrel is a non-branded progestogen-only pill, sometimes called a mini pill. When taken perfectly it’s up to 99% effective. 

Cerazette and Cerelle contain the same active ingredient as Desogestrel and work in the same way.    


Generic treatment

Pack size
Returning patient? Reorder

Alternative treatment: Cerelle

  • Daily mini pill 
  • 99% effective when taken correctly 
  • Suitable for smokers over 35 

What our patients say

Generic or branded treatments?

Some treatments contain the same active ingredient but are sold under different names. If the active ingredient and the dosage are the same, the treatments will have the same effect and work in the same way. 

Generic Branded
Same active ingredient
Works in the same way
Often less expensive
On this page

    About Desogestrel

    On this page

    How to take Desogestrel

    Like with all progestogen-only mini pills you should take Desogestrel at the same time each day. You have one each day and take the packs of 28 back-to-back, without a break.  

    How does Desogestrel work?

    Desogestrel is the name of the active ingredient in this mini pill. Desogestrel works by thickening the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm reaching an egg to fertilise it. It can also stop ovulation – other mini pills that don’t contain the active ingredient desogestrel don’t do this.  

    Desogestrel effectiveness

    When taken correctly Desogestrel is 99% effective, meaning out of 100 women, one will get pregnant in a year. With ‘typical use’ it’s thought that around nine in 100 women will get pregnant.  

    Who can take Desogestrel?

    The mini pill is suitable for lots of women and is often appropriate for more women than the combined pill. For example, unlike the combined pill, it’s usually suitable for smokers over 35 or experience migraines with aura.

    You shouldn’t take Desogestrel if: 

    • You have or have had heart disease, a stroke, liver disease or breast cancer 
    • You’re taking certain medications (e.g., some treatments for epilepsy and HIV) 
    • There’s a chance you might already be pregnant 

    Potential Desogestrel side effects

    Like with all medications, there’s a chance you might experience some side effects with Desogestrel, but these tend to be mild. 

    At first you might find you experience some acne, sore breasts and headaches, but these usually stop in a couple of months. Some women also experience changes to their periods – they become more or less frequent or stop all together. This also tends to settle down with time.  

    What to do if you’ve missed a Desogestrel pill

    If you forget to take a Desogestrel pill at your usual time, you have a window of 12 hours in which you can take it and still be protected against pregnancy. Take it as soon as you remember and take your next Desogestrel pill at the usual time the next day. 

    If you don’t take your missed Desogestrel pill within the 12-hour window you won’t be protected and you’ll need to use condoms for at least two days. You also might need emergency contraception

    Find out more about what to do if you miss a pill here.  

    Is Desogestrel the same as Cerazette and Cerelle?

    Yes, Desogestrel is just a generic version of Cerazette and Cerelle. They all contain the active ingredient desogestrel and work in the same way to protect you against pregnancy.  

    Does Desogestrel cause weight gain?

    Although some women say that taking the contraceptive pill affects their weight, there is no evidence to suggest that birth control pills make you gain weight.  

    Important information about Desogestrel

    If you’ve had your pill from us in the past, you can request a further three, six or 12-month supply from your Patient Record, if you're medically suitable. If you want to change your pill, please send us a message in your Patient Record. 

    Safety: taking other medicines with Desogestrel

    You should be able to take Desogestrel alongside most other medicines. But it’s always important to let us know which prescription, over-the-counter medicines and recreational drugs you are taking so we can make sure Desogestrel is right for you.  

    Alternative contraceptives

    We offer a range of contraceptives, including NuvaRing, Evra Patch, combined pills, low-dose pills and mini pills. View all our contraception options.

    Condoms are an effective form of contraception and protect against STIs.

    There are also long-acting contraceptives available through your GP or family planning clinic, including implants, the coil and injections.  

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