Oestrogen free contraceptive pill(12)
Order Cerazette when it’s convenient for you. Our online service allows you to complete a short assessment online and have your online doctor check it for you. If they agree Cerazette is right for you, your order will be sent to your door or to your preferred post office to pick up.
If you need emergency contraception, you can also order the morning after pill here.
The active ingredient in Cerazette is desogestrel.
Who can take Cerazette?
Any woman who wants to prevent pregnancy and is over 16 can take Cerazette. You cannot take Cerazette if you are pregnant. However, you can take Cerazette if you are breast feeding, unlike the combined contraceptives which contain oestrogen. In addition, women who smoke can take Cerazette as it is oestrogen-free. Oestrogen in combination with smoking significantly increases cardiovascular risks and the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, particularly in women over 35.
Cerazette side effects
As Cerazette does not contain oestrogen, users are not at risk to some of the side effects associated with taking a combined contraceptive.
Almost half of women experience bleeding irregularities whilst on Cerazette, so you should not worry if this applies to you ; it simply shows that the hormone in the tablet is affecting your body as it should.
Cerazette is an oestrogen-free contraceptive pill containing synthetic progesterone (desogestrel). It is taken to prevent pregnancy. It is an option for women who want to or need to avoid oestrogen, Cerazette can be taken in a 12 hour window around a fixed time each day. So, other oestrogen-free pills have to be taken within a more restrictive 3 hour window, so this is one of the attractions of taking Cerazette.
What is in a Cerazette tablet? – Cerazette contains 75 micrograms of Desogestrel as the active ingredient. This is a synthetic version of progesterone, which occurs naturally in the body.
How does Cerazette work? – the active ingredient in Cerazette, desogestrel, prevents ovulation (egg release from the ovaries) and increases the thickness of the womb’s mucus lining, which makes it more difficult for sperm to access the womb from the vagina.
Who takes Cerazette? – any woman who wants to prevent pregnancy can take Cerazette. You cannot take Cerazette if you are pregnant. However, you can take Cerazette if you are breast feeding, unlike the combined contraceptives which contain oestrogen. In addition, women who smoke can take Cerazette as it is oestrogen-free. Oestrogen in combination with smoking significantly increases cardiovascular risks and the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE), i.e. blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, particularly in women over 35.
If you want or need a POP instead of a combined oral contraceptive (COC), Cerazette with its 12 hour window provides more flexibility than other POPs which only have a 3 hour window. Cerazette also acts differently to other POPs : it stops ovulation, whereas most POPs do not consistently suppress ovulation, but depend on cervical mucus for the most part on their effects. Cerazette is therefore the most effective of the POPs.
POPs allow you to use contraception during breastfeeding, and are the recommended type of contraceptive for smokers over 35 years old and for women with body mass index (BMI) more than 35 kg/m2.
Which other advantages does Cerazette have? – since Cerazette does not contain oestrogen, the risks of deep vein thrombosis are eliminated compared to combined oral contraceptives (COCs). Cerazette will not affect breast milk and so can be taken by breast-feeding women, unlike the combined contraceptives. However, you should still inform your doctor if you would like to take Cerazette when breast feeding. In comparison with the other POPs, which have a three hour window, Cerazette can be taken within a 12 hour window around a fixed time every day, which may be more convenient for your lifestyle. Cerazette can also be taken by women who have been advised not to take a combination pill (for example because they are over 35 and smoke).
What are the disadvantages of Cerazette? – one disadvantage is that you may not get periods whilst on Cerazette (but some women might see this as and advantage), or periods may become infrequent and very light. In addition, as with all oral contraceptives, you need to take the pill at roughly the same time every day.
Do I still need to use a condom if I am taking Cerazette? – taking Cerazette does not protect you from STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Using a condom is the best way to provide STI protection, and it is a good back up precaution for preventing pregnancy.
Can I drink alcohol whilst taking Cerazette? – alcohol does not interact with Cerazette and will not make the contraceptive treatment any less effective. Therefore, it is medically acceptable to drink whilst on Cerazette. However, drinking too much alcohol can have very severe impacts on your general health and so should be avoided.
How does Cerazette compare to other contraceptives – many of the other contraceptives are combined, meaning they contain more than one synthetic hormone (usually various versions of oestrogen and progesterone). However, Cerazette contains only synthetic progesterone (desogestrel) so it is one of the “progesterone only” pills or “POPs”. Cerazette must be taken every day, regardless of cycle, unlike the combined contraceptives, which are taken for 21 days, starting on the first day of your period.
Cerazette is different from the other progesterone only pills as it actually stops ovulation, making it more effective. The other “POPs” do not do this.
Are there any other progesterone-only pills? – yes, there are a wide range of POPs including Femulen, Micronor, Norgeston and Noriday. However, Cerazette is probably the best of the progesterone pills because it can be taken within a 12 hour time frame around a fixed time each day, compared to a 3 hour window with many other POPs. This factor can help you stick to a more effective pill-taking routine. Furthermore, Cerazette also stops ovulation unlike the other POPs, making it the most effective progesterone-only pill.
When do I start treatment? – since you need to take Cerazette every day for the treatment to be effective, it does not matter exactly when you start taking the Cerazette. It will take a couple of days for the treatment to be effective, so during this time you need to take extra precautions and wear a condom.
What dosage do I take? – a Cerazette tablet contains 75 micrograms of Desogestrel. You should take one per day. Taking more than this will not have an adverse health effect, but it will not improve your protection and may make you feel nauseous.
You should take the pill at the same time every day, so that you are taking a pill roughly every 24 hours. Do not panic if this fluctuates within a 12 hour window around the daily time you selected. However, if you do not take a pill in your assigned 12 hour window, you should just wait until when your next pill is due and remember to take this. You will still be protected from pregnancy.
However, if you miss one or more tablets in the very first week of treatment and had intercourse in the week before missing the tablets, there is a chance you can become pregnant. You should ask your doctor for advice.
How will I know if Cerazette is working? – there is no sure way of telling if your treatment is working unless you can test whether you are pregnant or not. Be assured that if you take your contraceptive pill correctly, you will be 99% protected from getting pregnant. It is normal that periods are suppressed or become infrequent or light whilst using Cerazette. You are not necessarily pregnant if you miss a period whilst on Cerazette. However, if you are concerned, take a pregnancy test or talk to your doctor.
What if I am sick? – if you vomit or have diarrhoea within 3-4 hours of taking the pill, it may not have been absorbed into your body properly. In this case, take another pill as soon as possible and then continue treatment as usual.
Can I still get pregnant if I stop taking Cerazette? – yes, the contraceptive is reversible. Once you are off the minipill, there is a normal chance you will get pregnant. However, if you take your pills consistently and as recommended, protection against pregnancy is 99% effective.
As Cerazette does not contain oestrogen, users are not at risk to some of the side effects associated with taking a combined contraceptive.
Almost half of women experience bleeding irregularities whilst on Cerazette, so you should not worry if this applies to you ; it simply shows that the hormone in the tablet is affecting your body as it should. This is only really significant if your bleeding pattern changes form what it usually is on this pill (e.g. if you have no periods for 6 months or more and then start bleeding).
Common side effects include:
- Loss of libido
- Altered mood
- Breast pain and amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle)
These will affect around 10% of women.
Uncommon side effects include:
- Vaginal infections
- Contact lens intolerance
- Alopecia, ovarian cysts
- Fatigue and dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation)
These will be experienced by between 1 and 10% of women.
Rare side effects include:
- Urticaria (a disease affecting the skin through changes to the immune system)
- Erythema nodosum (inflammation of fat cells under the skin, causing redness)
- In very rare cases, the breasts may give off discharge or an ectopic pregnancy may be experienced. However, Cerazette avoids many of the more severe side effects associated with the combined contraceptives.
You must not take Cerazette if:
- You have active venous thromboembolic disorder (e.g. deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism)
- You have a severe allergy to anything in Cerazette
- You have a lactose intolerance
- You have severe liver disease/a history of liver disease from which you have never fully recovered
- You have sex-steroid sensitive malignancies
- You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- You are pregnant
You must discuss with your doctor if:
- You are under 16
- You are over 44
- You have diabetes
- You have chloasma (brown patching on your skin)
- You have angioedema (rapid swelling of the skin)
- You are breast feeding/intend to breast feed whilst on Cerazette
- You have breast or liver cancer
Also, if any of these effects start when you begin to take Cerazette, you should stop the treatment and speak to your doctor as soon as possible.
You should be aware that any contraceptive pill can increase your risk of breast cancer.
This risk is only really significant if you or your immediate family have had breast cancer before. You should speak to your doctor if this applies to you. The risk of breast cancer only increases by around 0.3% in women that are taking Cerazette compared to women who do not take any contraceptive pill. This increased risk will disappear after 10 years of stopping contraceptive treatment.
If you stop taking Cerazette you may experience:
- Mood swings
- Weight loss if you gained weight whilst on the pill
- A period within a few weeks
Risk of pregnancy – once you stop taking your pill, the hormones in your body will subside within a few days. Therefore, you will need to use contraception immediately after you stop taking the pill to prevent pregnancy. If you are sexually active, you could become pregnant within a few days of coming off the pill.
If you started taking Cerazette to ease symptoms such as:
- Heavy or irregular bleeding
- Monthly mood swings
It is likely that once you stop taking the pill, these symptoms will return. If you are worried about this, you should speak to your GP for advice.
Periods going back to normal – you can also expect your periods to be as they were before you started taking Cerazette. If you stopped taking the pill immediately after your last withdrawal bleed, your next bleed would be your period. If not, your next bleed will be a withdrawal bleed, much like you experienced whilst on the pill. The next bleed after this will be a period.
If you would like to come off Cerazette, you can get advice from your GP, nurse or pharmacist. If you don’t want to get pregnant, you should use other forms of contraception such as condoms.
In the UK – Cerazette is manufactured by N. V. Organon and marketed by Merck Sharp and Dohme Limited. Cerazette is a progestogen-only pill which gained its UK licence in 2002. Cerazette is also known as Desogestrel and was first described on the Netherlands in 1975. It was developed after it was discovered that another progestin, norethisterone, was enhanced by C11 substitutions. Desogestrel was introduced for medical use in 1981 and is now widely available as a progestogen-only “mini-pill”. Desogestrel was not introduced into the United States until 1992.
About the manufacturer – The manufacturers of Cerazette, Organon, also manufacture Mercilon, a combined oral contraceptive pill. Until 2007, Organon was a pharmaceutical company based in Oss in the Netherlands. However, it was acquired by USA based company Schering-Plough Corporation. Then in 2009 Schering-Plough merged with Merck and Co.
Contraceptive pills are a reliable way of reducing your risk of getting pregnant from sex. Zava offers most common brands of pill, so you can order your preferred brand by visiting our contraceptive pill service page.
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