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Cilique is a contraceptive pill that is up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. It contains two hormones, progesterone and oestrogen, which make it great for regulating heavy periods and reducing acne too.
Cilique is a good alternative to Cilest, another contraceptive pill which contains the same active ingredients and works in the same way. Cilest has been discontinued by its manufacturer.
6 x 21 tablet(s) / 250/35 mcg - £26.00
3 x 21 tablet(s) / 250/35 mcg - £17.00
Cilique is a combined hormonal contraceptive pill. It contains a combination of two sex hormones, oestrogen (norgestimate) and progestogen (ethinylestradiol). These are the same active ingredients found in the other combined pill known as Cilest. Together, these hormones prevent your monthly egg from being released by your ovaries (ovulation). They also thicken the fluid around the cervix (the entrance to the womb), which makes it hard for any sperm to enter your womb.
Take 1 Cilique pill once a day, at the same time each day, for 21 days in a row.
There are 21 pills in each Cilique foil blister strip, labelled with the days of the week to help you remember to take your pill. After 21 days, you should have a 7 day pill-free break.
During these 7 pill-free days you may have some withdrawal bleeding, a bit like a period. You should start your next strip of 21 pills after these 7 pill-free days, even if your bleeding has not stopped.
You can take Cilique with or without food. You should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruits while taking Cilique.
Taking Cilique for the first time
If you’re taking Cilique for the first time, it’s best to start on the first day of your period. If you take Cilique this way, then your contraception starts from the first pill and you’ll be protected from pregnancy straight away. If you start taking Cilique between days 1 and 5 of your period, you will still be protected from pregnancy straight away.
If you start taking Cilique at any other time after day 5 of your period, you will not be protected straight away. You will need to use extra protection, like condoms, until you have taken the pill for 7 days. It’s also best to take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after starting the pill.
As long as you’re taking Cilique as prescribed, you’ll also have contraceptive protection on your 7-day pill-free break.
A pill counts as being missed if you have taken it more than 24 hours later than you usually do. If you take a pill less than 24 hours late, you can carry on as usual.
If it’s been more than 24 hours since you took a pill, what you do will depend on how many pills you’ve missed.
If you have missed 1 pill, you’re still protected from pregnancy. You should take the pill you missed as soon as possible, even if this means taking 2 pills on the same day. Then carry on the rest of your pills as usual. You don’t need extra contraception.
If you’ve missed 2 or more pills in the pack, take the last pill you missed as soon as you realise, even if this means taking 2 pills on the same day. Don’t take the rest of the missed pills. Carry on with the rest of the pills but use condoms for 7 days. If there are less than 7 pills left until your pill-free week, start your next pack straight away without taking a break. If you missed 2 or more pills in the first week of the pack, you might need emergency contraception if you have had sex before you missed the pills.
If you missed more than 7 pills anywhere in the pack, you will need to use emergency contraception if you have had sex without a condom. You should start a new strip of pills and use condoms for 7 days.
If you’re not sure, you can message a doctor on your account for more advice, or contact your GP.
Cilique is an effective method of contraception. Cilique has between a 91% to 99% effective rate against pregnancy.
Cilique does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so use a condom. You and your partner can both get tested for free at a sexual health clinic to see if either of you are carrying any STIs, or you can order a home testing kit online from ZAVA.
Cilique contains the active ingredients of 250mcg of norgestimate and 35mcg of ethinylestradiol.
Some women experience side effects with Cilique.
Very common side effects of Cilique include:
- feeling sick or being sick
- vaginal bleeding or spotting
- painful periods
Common side effects of Cilique:
- weight gain
- mood changes such as depression or feeling nervous
- breast tenderness or breast pain
- urinary tract infections or vaginal infections such as thrush
Uncommon side effects of Cilique:
- hot flushes
- appetite change
- palpitations (fast heartbeat)
- itchy skin or red skin
- changes in hair growth, such as thinning of your hair or excessive hair growth
- vaginal dryness
- ovarian cysts
- breast changes, such as fluid or discharge coming from the nipples
- changes to the cells in your cervix
Rare side effects of Cilique:
- reduced sex drive
- increased sensitivity to light
- inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- increased sweating
If you notice any of these signs of a blood clot after taking Cilique, contact 999 immediately:
- shortness of breath
- severe headache or migraine
- swelling and redness of one leg or foot
- chest pain or pressure
- fainting or collapsing
- sudden weakness on one side of your body
- loss of vision
You can take Cilique if you want to prevent pregnancy.
If you want to take Cilique but are unsure if you can, you can read the patient information leaflet that comes in the pack or speak to your doctor.
You should not take Cilique if you:
- are allergic to ethinyl estradiol, norgestimate or any of the ingredients listed in Cilique
- have a history of blood clots
- have a condition that affects your blood clotting
- have a history of heart attack, stroke or angina
- have a condition that affects your blood vessels, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- have a history of breast, womb or liver cancer
- have liver disease or hepatitis C
- have abnormal vaginal bleeding that needs to be investigated by a doctor
Some conditions require your doctor to discuss whether Cilique is the right contraceptive for you. You should speak to your doctor if you:
- have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
- have high blood pressure or diabetes
- have gallbladder problems
- have had migraines in the past
- have an autoimmune condition called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
- have a condition called porphyria
- have high levels of fat in your body
- have just recently given birth or are breastfeeding
- are going to have an operation with a long recovery time
Some medicines can interact with Cilique and affect the way it works. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking:
- epilepsy treatment such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, topiramate or lamotrigine
- treatment for HIV such as ritonavir or dasabuvir
- certain antibiotics such as rifampicin or rifabutin
- St John’s wort, an over the counter remedy for low moods
- antifungal medicines such as fluconazole or ketoconazole
- theophylline used to treat asthma
- treatment for high cholesterol, such as atorvastatin or rosuvastatin
There are many alternative contraceptive pills available from ZAVA. If Cilique is not suitable for you, or you want to try a different contraceptive pill, we offer different options including:
- combined hormonal contraceptive pills
- progestogen-only pills (also called the ‘mini pill’)
- combined hormone patches
A combined contraceptive means there is a combination of an oestrogen-like active ingredient and a progesterone-like ingredient. Progestogen-only pills are oestrogen-free and work like the natural progesterone hormone you produce in your body.
There are other types of contraception available such as the contraceptive implant, the coil or the injection. These are long-acting forms of contraception and are very effective as you don’t have to remember to use contraception every day. Your local sexual health clinic or your GP can advise you about these.
Cilique is a safe and effective contraceptive pill. The active ingredients in Cilique are ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate, which are types of hormones.
Both these hormones have been used in contraception for many years, meaning doctors have plenty of experience safely prescribing them.
You’ll have a slightly higher risk of developing a blood clot if you take Cilique or any hormonal contraceptive.
If you’re not pregnant or using any hormonal contraception, you’ll naturally have a very small risk of developing a blood clot. This affects about 2 in 10,000 women.
When you take a hormonal contraceptive like Cilique, that risk increases slightly to between 5 and 7 women out of 10,000.
Your chance of blood clots will be higher if you:
- are overweight
- have a history or family history of blood clots
- are above 35 years old and a smoker
- have high blood pressure
- have diabetes with blood vessel complications
- have a family history of blood clots
Your doctor will discuss with you if Cilique is the best option for contraception.
Cilique can be taken when breastfeeding, depending on when you gave birth and on other risk factors. If it has been more than 6 weeks since you gave birth, you can start Cilique safely as long as you have no other risk factors.
Although studies are limited, these do not show any negative effects of Cilique on either the production of breast milk or on babies. Speak to your doctor or nurse about whether Cilique is the right option for you if you are breastfeeding.
You will not be able to buy Cilique without a prescription. A doctor at ZAVA can prescribe Cilique for you. You’ll need to fill out a short online questionnaire which they will review and decide if Cilique is right for you.
Is Cilique the same as Cilest?
Cilest is no longer available as it has been discontinued by its original manufacturer. Although Cilique is made by a different company, they both contain the same active ingredients and work in exactly the same way.
Does Cilique help with acne?
Cilique can be used to help treat acne as the hormones used in Cilique pills can reduce the amount of oil produced by your skin cells. If Cilique isn’t a suitable contraceptive pill for you, there are other contraceptive pills that can treat acne too.
Can Cilique cause mood swings?
Cilique may cause mood swings or mood changes. This is because your mood can be affected by changing hormone levels. Your body will usually take a few weeks to adapt to the change.
If you feel your mood swings are not getting better, you can try an alternative contraceptive pill.
Does Cilique affect your libido?
Cilique may affect your libido (sex drive). It can take a few weeks for your body to adjust to the change in hormone levels and for your libido to go back to how it normally is.
Can Cilique change my weight?
There is no evidence to prove that Cilique and other contraceptive pills change your weight.
If your weight is increasing or decreasing after you take Cilique, trying an alternative pill might help. You may also prefer a different contraceptive method, such as the coil or an implant.
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: 09 Nov 2021
Cilique 250/35 microgram tablets Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) [September 2021] [accessed October 2021]
How effective is contraception at preventing pregnancy? (NHS) [April 2020] [accessed October 2021]
Ethinyl estradiol with norgestimate BNF online [accessed October 2021]
Cilest to be discontinued Medicines Supply Continuity - Rotherham CCG [January 2019] [accessed October 2021]
Thornton MJ. Oestrogen functions in skin and skin appendages. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2005;9(3):617-29. [June 2005] [accessed October 2021]