There are dozens of brands of contraceptive pill, giving women a high chance of finding one that is right for them. If taken correctly and consistently, they can be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
All brands of the combined pill must be taken orally at roughly the same time every day for three weeks. You will then have a 7 day break, during which you will have your period.
Here, you can find information about the main contraceptive pill brands and how they differ. All of them are available through our online service, meaning that you don’t have to book a doctor’s appointment.
Microgynon and Rigevidon
Both Microgynon and Rigevidon are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy, and usually give you a regular monthly cycle. Some combined pills can also be used to treat heavy or painful periods, or premenstrual syndrome.
Microgynon, Rigevidon and other brands of the combined contraceptive pill prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, as well as making it difficult for sperm to reach an egg, or for an egg to implant in the womb lining.
All brands of the combined pill may cause side effects, and these include nausea, breast tenderness and headaches. Serious side effects with the pill are rare but include blood clots in the legs and lungs, raised blood pressure, stroke and a very small increased risk of breast cancer. They are therefore sometimes not suitable for certain women, for example those who are over the age of 35 and smoke, are overweight or have an increased risk of blood clots.
Cilest is another popular combined contraceptive pill brand. It is very similar to Microgynon and Rigevidon, except that it contains a slightly higher quantity of oestrogen. This means there is less chance of breakthrough bleeding.
Yasmin is a popular brand of the contraceptive pill but there is evidence to suggest that it carries a higher risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs than the older generation combined contraceptive pill brands such as Microgynon, Logynon and Ovranette.
Yasmin works in the same way as the other brands of the combined pill, and may cause the same side effects such as nausea, breast tenderness or headaches. It usually results in regular periods and can help with heavy or painful periods and premenstrual syndrome. It is also equally effective at preventing pregnancy.
Cerazette is a progesterone-only pill, otherwise known as the mini pill. It only contains progesterone and is therefore usually used by women who are not medically suitable for pills which contain oestrogen. These include women who are breastfeeding, older women, smokers, women who are overweight and those who have severe migraines.
Some women who use Cerazette and other mini pill brands experience irregular bleeding, but this usually settles after a few months. 40% of women on the mini pill experience regular periods, 40% have irregular periods and 20% never have a period.
Cerazette must be taken every day, and there is no 7-day break as there is for the combined pill. If you take a break you will not be protected. An advantage of Cerazette over other brands of the mini pill is that there is a 12-hour ‘window’ each day within which you can take the pill and remain protected. The other mini pill brands need to be taken at the same time every day.
Loestrin 20 is a low dose pill, meaning that it is a combined contraceptive pill (containing both oestrogen and progesterone) with lower levels of oestrogen than the regular combined pill. This makes it a better option for women who experience side effects on other combined pills, or for older women who do not want the mini pill.