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Cerazette is an oestrogen-free contraceptive pill manufactured by Organon Pharma (UK) Limited.
You only need 1 Cerazette pill daily to protect yourself against pregnancy. Unlike other mini pills such as Norgeston and Noriday, which you must take within a 3-hour window, you can take Cerazette within a 12-hour window without it becoming less effective.
6 x 28 tablet(s) - £33.00
3 × 28 tablet(s) - £19.00
Cerazette is a progestogen-only pill, also known as the mini pill.
Each Cerazette pill contains 75 micrograms desogestrel, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. It does not contain oestrogen, which makes Cerazette an ideal option if you get oestrogen-related side effects from contraceptives like the combined pill, which does contain oestrogen.
Important: Taking Cerazette does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You’ll need to use a condom to protect yourself against STIs.
Cerazette is for people who are at risk of unwanted pregnancies. A doctor or nurse can check to see if Cerazette is right for you.
Cerazette can be a good choice for people who:
- are over the age of 35 and who smoke
- have high blood pressure
- have had previous blood clots
- have suffered from migraines with aura
- have certain heart conditions
- are overweight
This is because these are all reasons why a doctor might not prescribe the combined pill to someone due to the oestrogen in them. Since Cerazette only contains progesterone, it’s safer for some people.
You should take 1 Cerazette pill at around the same time each day. Swallow it whole with water. Don’t chew, cut or crush it.
To make it easier to remember to take your pill, take Cerazette in the order shown on the back of each pack. Follow the days of the week in order. You could also use a pill reminder box if you’re worried about forgetting.
Once you finish your Cerazette strip, start a new one the next day without a pill-free break.
Cerazette works to prevent pregnancy in 2 ways:
- it stops ovulation, so there is no egg for the sperm to fertilise
- it prevents sperm from reaching the womb by thickening the mucus at the entrance to your womb
The progesterone in Cerazette works the same way your natural hormones would to help avoid pregnancy.
When Cerazette starts to work depends on whether or not you are already using hormonal contraception.
Taking the mini pill when you have not used hormonal contraception for the past month or longer:
Take your first Cerazette tablet on the first day of your period, or up to and including day 5 of your period. It will start to work immediately, and no additional contraception is required.
If you take the first tablet after day 5 of your period, Cerazette will not start to work immediately. You will need to use a barrier method of contraception, like condoms, for the first 2 days of taking Cerazette.
Changing to Cerazette from another mini pill:
Take your first Cerazette tablet any day you want to and it will start working immediately. You do not need to use additional contraception.
Changing to Cerazette from the combined pill, transdermal patch or vaginal ring:
If you normally have a break as part of your combined pill, transdermal patch or vaginal ring routine, and you start taking Cerazette when the break finishes, Cerazette will not work immediately. You will need to use a barrier method of contraception, like condoms, for the first 2 days. You can instead start Cerazette after your last active pill before your break – you will not need any additional precautions then.
If you do not normally have a break, you can start taking Cerazette immediately after taking the last active pill or removing your patch or ring. Cerazette will work immediately to protect you from pregnancy.
Changing to Cerazette from an implant, injection or IUD:
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. During these first 2 days, use extra protection like condoms if you have sex.
What you should do if you miss a pill depends on how late you remember to take it:
- If you miss a pill and are less than 12 hours late, take it as soon as you remember and take the next pill at your usual time.
- If you’re more than 12 hours late, take the next pill at your usual time. Use extra contraception, like condoms, for the next 2 days.
If you have unprotected sex and forget to take your pill for over 12 hours, speak to a doctor or pharmacist about getting emergency contraception.
For more information, see our page on forgetting the pill.
What should I do if I'm too late to take a pill?
If you are too late to take your Cerazette pill, take it as soon as you remember and use additional barrier contraception for the next 2 days, like condoms. It takes 2 days for the progesterone in your Cerazette pill to thicken the mucus at the entrance to the womb.
The longer it is since you took your pill, the higher the risk of getting pregnant. If you have had unprotected sex, talk to a doctor or pharmacist about emergency contraception.
What should I do if I vomit after taking the pill?
If you vomit or have diarrhoea within 4 hours of taking your pill, take another pill as soon as possible within the 12-hour window and then take your pill as usual.
When you are sick or have diarrhoea soon after taking your pill, your system may not have absorbed it properly. If you keep being sick or having diarrhoea, keep using condoms until 2 days after your symptoms improve to stay protected.
Yes, you can switch your contraceptive pill. You may need to use additional contraception depending on whether you are switching from another mini or a combined pill. Talk to your doctor and read the patient information leaflet for Cerazette to ensure you are protected from pregnancy while you switch pills.
You can buy Cerazette online from any registered online doctor service, like ZAVA. Make sure the service you are using is regulated and approved by the Quality Care Commission. Online doctor services allow doctors to approve treatments like Cerazette using online assessments, which means you don’t have to make a face-to-face appointment to order your contraceptive pill.
Taking Cerazette as recommended is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
However, in typical daily use, the mini pill is estimated to be 91% effective, as people forget to take it at the right time or are ill.
You may experience some side effects when you start taking Cerazette.
Common Cerazette side effects include:
- weight changes
- mood changes
- lower sex drive
- breast pain
- irregular or no periods
Uncommon Cerazette 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 affecting your daily life.
You can learn more about the possible side effects of Cerazette in the patient information leaflet.
Cerazette contraceptive pills are suitable for most women to take. But, 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
Can I take Cerazette while pregnant or breastfeeding?
No, you cannot take Cerazette if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
It is safe to take Cerazette while you are breastfeeding. Small amounts of the pill can enter the breast milk, but studies have found that these do not impact the baby. Talk to your doctor if you want to take Cerazette while breastfeeding.
See our page on contraception after giving birth for more information.
Cerazette can interact with other medications and affect how well they work. Also, other medications can change Cerazette’s effectiveness.
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.
Several contraceptive alternatives are available if you do not want to take Cerazette. You could also try another mini pill if you want an oestrogen-free pill option and Cerazette isn’t right for you.
Cerelle and Cerazette are 2 mini pills with exactly the same dosage and active ingredient – 75 micrograms of desogestrel. This means that they work in an almost identical way as medications. The effectiveness, side effects and benefits will be almost completely the same.
The main difference is the non-active ingredients used to make up the pills. These are different because Cerelle and Cerazette are produced by different manufacturers. Cerelle is made by Gedeon Richter and Cerazette is made by Organon Pharma Limited.
While Cerelle uses potato starch, polyvinyl alcohol and macrogol 3000, Cerazette uses maize starch, hypromellose and macrogol 400. Both contain lactose and are unsuitable for vegans and those with lactose intolerance.
Cerazette and Cerelle both contain the same active ingredient, desogestrel. So unfortunately, if you react badly to Cerazette then Cerelle might not be a good option, even though both have the biggest window of opportunity for taking them, 12 hours.
Cerelle: non-active ingredients Cerazette: non-active ingredients
- colloidal anhydrous silica
- potato starch
- stearic acid
- polyvinyl alcohol
- macrogol 3000
- titanium dioxide (E171)
- lactose monohydrate
- colloidal anhydrous silica
- maize starch
- stearic acid
- macrogol 400
- titanium dioxide (E171)
- lactose monohydrate
There are other types of mini pills available. Some, like Cerelle, are similar to Cerazette and have a 12-hour window in which you have to take them. Others have a 3-hour window in which you have to take them. These include Norgeston and Noriday.
Norgeston and Noriday contain levonorgestrel and norethisterone respectively, which are different progesterones to Cerazette and Cerelle. So, if you’ve tried Cerazette already and decided it wasn’t for you, you could try either of these.
The active ingredient in Cerazette is 75 micrograms of desogestrel, a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen.
Contraceptive pills in the UK normally have lactose in, which means they’re not suitable for people with lactose intolerance or vegans. Whether or not Cerazette is suitable for people of the muslim faith is not clear.
Online patient reviews from thelowdown.com show that Cerazette is rated 2.6 out of 5. Patient reviews can be a good way of understanding the experience of others on a medication but they may not always be a fair representation. The best way to find out how well a medication works for you is by trying it out. If you try Cerazette and you don’t get on with it, you can always switch to another contraceptive option if you need to.
Frequently asked questions
Is Cerazette the same as Cerelle?
Cerelle is not the same as Cerazette, but they are similar. Both Cerazette and Cerelle are mini pills with a 12-hour window to take them, but they are different medications.
Can you get Cerazette on the NHS?
Yes. You can get Cerazette on the NHS. You need a prescription from a doctor to do so.
Can you get Cerazette over the counter?
No, you cannot get Cerazette over the counter. You need a prescription from a doctor to get Cerazette.
Is Cerazette good for acne?
Generally, no. Although it varies from person to person, the best pill for acne is the combined pill, not a mini pill like Cerazette. Taking mini pills like Cerazette can increase the production of sebum, an oily substance that protects the skin and can clog up pores to create an outbreak of spots.
Does Cerazette affect my weight?
Despite many women reporting that they have gained weight from being on the contraceptive pill, there is no scientific evidence that Cerazette causes long-term changes to your weight.
Can Cerazette cause anxiety?
Some women feel that taking Cerazette increases their anxiety. The medical research into this area has not proven this. As oestrogen and progesterone both affect your emotions, it is possible that changing the level of progesterone in your body could impact your mental health.
Is Cerazette good for PCOS side effects?
Taking Cerazette can help with the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as regulating your hormones can make your periods more regular and less heavy.
Doctors often recommend the combined pill first to help with PCOS side effects but if you get side effects from taking oestrogen or there are reasons that you should not take oestrogen, then a mini pill such as Cerazette can be a good option for helping with PCOS symptoms.
Will I get my period while taking Cerazette?
Whether you bleed or not while taking Cerazette varies, but there is no monthly period as you do not have a break between packets of pills. Some women do not bleed at all, whereas others experience irregular bleeding while taking Cerazette. If the irregular bleeding is impacting your life, talk to your doctor.
How to stop bleeding on Cerazette pills?
You may have some breakthrough bleeding or spotting when taking Cerazette. Once your body has adjusted to the new hormone levels, this usually stops within 3-6 months. If the bleeding doesn’t go away, speak to your doctor for advice on what to do.
Can Cerazette cause hair loss?
The side effects of Cerazette do not include permanent hair loss. However, hormonal changes can sometimes cause hair loss. As Cerazette changes the hormones in your body, hair loss can be a temporary side effect while your body adjusts to taking it.
Can Cerazette cause migraines?
One of the possible common side effects of taking Cerazette is headaches, but Cerazette does not typically cause migraines.
If you suffer from migraines linked to your hormones, taking Cerazette can help, as the daily dose of progesterone without a break can regulate hormones.
Does Cerazette give you a low libido?
Whether or not Cerazette gives you a low libido varies from person to person. Many people do find that progesterone lowers their sex drive, but other people find that it increases it.
Does Cerazette increase your risk of blood clots (thrombosis)?
No, Cerazette is a mini pill containing only progesterone, so it does not increase your risk of blood clots. You may have heard that taking the contraceptive pill increases your risk of developing a blood clot, but this risk is from the oestrogen in the combined pill.
Can I take Cerazette when I'm breastfeeding?
Yes, it is safe to take Cerazette when you are breastfeeding. Studies found that a small amount of the active substance in Cerazette was in the breast milk of mothers taking it, but this did not impact the baby’s development. Talk to your doctor before you start taking Cerazette to be sure you are using the right hormonal contraception.
Can the Cerazette contraceptive pill make you infertile?
No, taking Cerazette cannot make you infertile. A medical review from 2018 found that hormonal contraceptives do not cause infertility. They may temporarily delay fertility, but your normal fertility levels will return when you stop taking them, usually within a few months.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Accreditations: BSc, MBBS, MRCGP (2008)
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 23 Aug 2023
Cerazette, Patient Information Leaflet, EMC [accessed August 2023]
Contraceptives, hormonal (2020) NICE [accessed August 2023]
Contraception - progestogen-only methods NICE [accessed August 2023]
Is Cerazette the mini pill of choice? BMJ [accessed August 2023]
Mini Pill Contraception Choices [accessed August 2023]
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.