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    Desogestrel is a mini pill (progestogen-only) which is often an alternative to the combined pill.  

    How to take Desogestrel

    You should take Desogestrel at the same time each day. This can be at any time perhaps as soon as you wake up or after dinner. Choose a time you’ll remember every 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.

    If you start taking Desogestrel during the first 5 days of your period, it’ll work straight away. If your menstrual cycle is short or you start the pill on any other day of your cycle, you won’t be protected from pregnancy. You’ll need to use condoms for the first 2 days of taking the pill.   

    Desogestrel effectiveness

    When taken correctly Desogestrel is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Out of 100 women, one will get pregnant in a year when taking this pill. With ‘typical use’ it’s thought that around nine in 100 women will get pregnant.

    It can also help to lessen the symptoms of heavy periods. When taking Desogestrel your periods may stop completely.

    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 

    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:

    • Acne
    • Sore breasts
    • Headaches
    • Changes to your periods
    • Irregular bleeding 

    These side effects usually stop in a couple of months. Find out more about Desogestrel and acne in our guide. When coming off Desogestrel you may also experience side effects as your body goes back to the way it was before. It can take your body a while to get used to not being on the pill.  

    Will Desogestrel stop my periods?

    Taking the Desogestrel pill stop periods for many women. This is because it stops you ovulating (releasing an egg) in 97 out of 100 menstrual cycles. However, not everyone finds that their periods stop when they take Desogestrel.  Some women experience irregular bleeding. Periods may become more or less frequent. This tends to settle down with time. 

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      Desogestrel FAQs

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      Can you take Desogestrel and HRT?

      Desogestrel isn’t licensed to be used as HRT (Hormones Replacement Therapy). However, you can use a progestogen only pill (POP) as a form of contraception when using HRT.

      Is Desogestrel the same as Cerazette and Cerelle?

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

      Does Desogestrel cause weight gain?

      You might be wondering about Desogestrel and weight gain. Weight gain is listed as a common side effect for the progestogen-only pill and some women say that taking the contraceptive pill affects their weight. However, there is very little evidence to suggest that birth control pills make you gain weight.

      Re-ordering 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. 

      Taking Desogestrel with other medicines

      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 contraceptive treatments

      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.  

      Our contraception service

      1. Complete our simple, confidential online consultation

        5 mins

      2. Choose from recommended options

        In your Patient Record

      3. One of our NHS-experienced clinicians confirms your suitability

        You’ll be informed by email if your contraception has been approved and prescribed

      4. 3, 6 or 12 months of protection

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      Delivery & collection information

      • Standard delivery


        Delivered within 2-3 working days.

      • Next-day delivery


        Orders approved before 5pm Monday-Friday will arrive within 1-2 working days. Orders approved between 5pm Friday and 12pm Sunday will usually arrive on Monday or Tuesday.

      • Standard ParcelShop collection


        Collect from 7000+ convenient ParcelShops in 2-3 working days.

      • Next day ParcelShop collection


        Collect next day from 7000+ convenient ParcelShop locations, if approved before 5pm Monday-Friday. Saturday and Sunday orders, collect Monday if approved before 12pm Sunday or Tuesday if ordered after 12pm. 

      • London same-day collection


        Order before 5pm Monday-Friday to collect in pharmacy the same day. Subject to the availability of your treatment in your selected London pharmacy.

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