Prevent pregnancy with Cerazette, an oestrogen-free mini pill(34)
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Cerazette is an oestrogen-free contraceptive pill that is recommended for smokers and women over the age of 35.
Each Cerazette pill contains desogestrel, a man made version of the hormone progesterone, and no oestrogen. This makes Cerazette an ideal option if you get side effects from contraceptives that contain oestrogen, such as the combined pill.
You only need to take one Cerazette pill each day to protect yourself against pregnancy. Unlike other mini pills, you can take Cerazette within a 12 hour window and it will still be effective.
6 x 28 tablet(s) - £31.99
3 × 28 tablet(s) - £19.00
Cerazette is a progestogen-only pill, also known as the mini pill. By taking it daily, you can prevent yourself from getting pregnant because it stops the eggs in your ovaries from being released.
Each Cerazette pill contains 75 micrograms of the hormone desogestrel (a type of progestogen). Because Cerazette only contains progestogen, it’s a good alternative to pills that contain oestrogen or if you cannot take oestrogen.
Taking Cerazette does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you’ll need to wear a condom to protect yourself against them.
You should take 1 Cerazette pill a day at around the same time each day.
When should I start taking Cerazette?
You can start Cerazette at any point in your cycle. If you start during the first 5 days of your period, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. If you start on any other day of your cycle, you need to take Cerazette for 2 days in a row before it starts to work.
To make it easier to remember to take your pill, you should take Cerazette in the order shown on the back of each pack, and follow the days of the week in order.
Once you finish your Cerazette strip, you should start a new strip the next day without having a pill-free break. This is unlike combined oral contraceptives.
What if I miss a pill?
If you miss a pill, and you’re less than 12 hours late to take it, take your missed pill as soon as you remember and take the next pill at your usual time.
If you’re more than 12 hours late, take your missed Cerazette pill as soon as you remember. Take the next pill at your usual time, even if that means taking 2 pills at the same time. You’ll need to use extra contraception, like condoms, for the next 2 days to be protected against pregnancy.
Speak to a doctor about getting emergency contraception if you have unprotected sex and forget to take your pill for more than 12 hours.
What if I vomit?
If you vomit or have diarrhoea within 4 hours of taking your pill, it may not have been absorbed into your body properly. In this case, take another pill as soon as possible within the 12-hour window and then continue treatment as usual.
Cerazette works by releasing the hormone desogestrel into your body. Desogestrel is similar to the natural hormone, progesterone, that you produce.
When you take Cerazette daily it stops you from getting pregnant by:
- preventing ovulation (when an egg is released from your ovaries)
- thickening the lining of your womb, making it harder for sperm to get to your uterus
You will be protected against pregnancy if you start taking Cerazette on day 1 of your period. If you start taking it at any other time during the month, you will need to wait 7 days until it starts to work.
If you take Cerazette as recommended without missing any pills, it is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
If you forget to take your pill or do not take it at the same time each day, it can make Cerazette less effective. This means you’re more likely to get pregnant if you have unprotected sex.
You may experience some side effects when you start taking Cerazette.
Common side effects include:
- weight changes
- mood changes
- lower sex drive
- breast pain
- irregular or no periods
Uncommon side effects include:
- problems wearing contact lenses
- vaginal infections, such as thrush
- painful periods
- ovarian cysts
Speak to your doctor about changing birth control methods if you get any side effects that are affecting your daily life.
You can learn more about the possible side effects of Cerazette in the patient information leaflet.
You can take Cerazette if you currently have regular periods or cannot take oestrogen found in combined contraceptive pills.
Women over the age of 35 and who smoke, have high blood pressure, have had previous blood clots, have suffered from migraine with aura, have certain heart conditions, or are overweight can also usually take this type of pill, in situations where doctors may not want to prescribe a combined contraceptive pill.
You should not take Cerazette if you have:
- any allergies to desogestrel, lactose or any other ingredients in Cerazette
- liver disease
- a high chance of thrombosis (blood clots)
- breast cancer
- unexplained vaginal bleeding
You should not take Cerazette if you are pregnant.
The active ingredient in Cerazette is 75 micrograms of desogestrel, which is a synthetic progestogen.
Cerazette can interact with other medications and affect how well they work.
Before you take Cerazette, you should let your doctor know if you’re on medications for:
- high blood pressure (hypertension)
- angina, such as diltiazem
- fungal infections
- hepatitis C or HIV
- low mood, such as St John’s Wort
Taking these medications with your Cerazette pill might make it less effective, so you will not be protected from getting pregnant.
There are alternative contraceptive pills or the contraceptive patch that you can use to prevent pregnancy. These include:
- other 12-hour mini pills, such as Cerelle
- 3-hour mini pills, such as Noriday
- combined pills, such as Lucette
- phasic combined pills, such as TriRegol
There are also other types of contraception, such as:
- copper IUD (intrauterine device)
- hormonal IUD
- vaginal ring
- barrier methods (condoms, female condoms, contraceptive diaphragm)
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.
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.
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’re sexually active, you could become pregnant after 24 hours of taking your last pill.
Periods going back to normal
You’re likely to have a period within a few weeks of stopping Cerazette and should see your doctor if you don’t. You can also expect your periods to be as they were before you started taking Cerazette. 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.
You can become pregnant as soon as you stop taking the pill. However, it may take a few months for your body to readjust after coming off Cerazette and allow your natural cycle to return. The length of time this takes will vary between women.
Dr Kathryn Basford
Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 06 Dec 2021
CERAZETTE patient leaflet [December 2020] [Accessed November 2021]
NHS, The progestogen only pill [accessed November 2021]
The Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health, FSHR Clinical Guidance, Progestogen-only pills [accessed November 2021]
Sexwise, Progestogen-only pill [accessed November 2021]
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.