Cerelle®

If you are changing from another brand of contraceptive or you are starting to use an oral contraceptive for the first time you will understandably have questions and even concerns. How do I take it? Will it work effectively? Will I experience side effects? All these questions and many more are answered here. For further information please consult the Cerelle® Patient Information leaflet PIL.

Cerelle®


What is Cerelle®?

This is a contraceptive pill that contains a small amount of a female sex hormone, a progesterone (desogestrel) For this reason Cerelle® is called a progesterone only pill (POP) or mini pill. Unlike combined oral contraceptive pills, the POP or mini pill does not contain an oestrogen hormone, only a progesterone.

How does this pill work?

Most POPs or mini-pills work primarily by preventing the sperm from entering the womb but do not always prevent the egg cell from ripening which is the primary action of combined oral contraceptives. Your pill is distinct from other mini-pills in having a dose that in most cases is high enough to prevent the egg cell from ripening.

In contrast to the combined oral contraceptive pill this pill can be used by women who do not tolerate oestrogen and by women who are breast feeding. A disadvantage is that vaginal bleeding may occur at irregular intervals during the use of this pill. You may also not have any bleeding at all.

If you want to learn more about how POPs or mini-pills work, please ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Why was I given this pill?

If you want to find out more about why this specific pill was chosen as your contraceptive method, please talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist. They will be able to explain in greater detail why it has been selected.

For those taking this pill a FREE pill reminder app is available for most smart phones to help you remember when to take your pill.

To find out more details about taking your pill, please click here to see the patient information leaflet. This contains lots of useful detailed information about taking your pill, possible side effects and what to do if you miss a pill.

General Information

Taken correctly, the progesterone only pill is an effective, reversible form of contraception. But, in certain circumstances, the pill’s effectiveness may be reduced, or you may have to stop taking it.

In these cases, either do not have sex, or use a barrier method of contraception e.g. condoms.

Remember, that oral contraceptive pills will not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases (such as AIDS). Only condoms can help to do this.

Reasons why you should not take Cerelle®

Do not use this pill if you have any of the conditions listed below. If any of these apply to you, tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before starting to take your pill. Your doctor or nurse may advise you to use a non-hormonal method of birth control.

  • If you are allergic to desogestrel or any of the ingredients of this medicine (click here to see the full list of ingredients in Cerelle).
  • If you have thrombosis. Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in a blood vessel which may lead to obstruction of this blood vessel e.g. in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
  • If you have or have had a severe liver disease and the function of your liver (as determined by laboratory investigation of the blood)has not returned to normal.
  • If you have cancer that grows under the influence of certain hormones (progesterones) such as certain types of breast cancer.
  • If you have any unexplained vaginal bleeding.

If any of these conditions appears for the first time whilst using this pill, you should consult your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

How to take Cerelle®

Always take your pill exactly as your doctor, nurse or pharmacist has told you. Check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are unsure. Each strip of your pill contains 28 tablets. Arrows and the days of the week are printed on the front of the strip, which will help you take your pill correctly.

  • Try to take your pill at about the same time each day. You may find it easiest to take it either last thing at night or first thing in the morning.
  • Swallow each pill whole, with water if necessary.

To find out more details about taking your pill, please click here to see the Patient Information Leaflet. This contains lots of useful, detailed information all about taking your pill, including possible side effects and what to do if you miss a pill.

What is Cerelle?®

This is a progesterone only contraceptive pill that contains 75µg desogestrel (a progesterone) which works primarily by preventing the egg cell from ripening. Other effects include preventing the sperm cells from entering the womb.

I was previously on Cerazette® and have now been changed to Cerelle® - what is the difference?

These pills contain exactly the same active ingredients in the same quantities, but they are made by different manufacturers and therefore have different names.

Will I notice any change when I move to Cerelle®

As this contraceptive pill contains exactly the same active ingredients as Cerazette® you should notice no difference when changing pills. If taken correctly, as described in the Patient Information Leaflet, this pill is an effective, reversible form of contraception.

When should I take my contraceptive pill?

If you have not taken any other contraceptive pills in the last month take the first dose on the first day of your normal menstrual cycle and at the same time every day until the end of the blister strip. You may also start on days two, three, four or five of your cycle. In those cases make sure you also use an additional contraceptive method (such as condoms or another barrier method) for the first seven days of tablet taking.

If you are changing from another contraceptive pill, vaginal ring, patch, injection, implant or intrauterine device, or are starting this contraceptive pill after childbirth, a miscarriage or abortion see the Patient Information Leaflet for advice.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember even if it means taking two pills on the same day. If the missed pill is less than 12 hours late, your contraceptive protection should not be affected and additional contraception should be unnecessary. If the missed pill is more than 12 hours late, or more than one pill in a pack is late, contraceptive cover may be reduced and use of a condom is advised. Click here to see the Patient Information Leaflet for full details and advice . If you miss more than one pill ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice.

What happens if I have a stomach upset?

If you have been sick within 3-4 hours after taking your pill or you have severe diarrhoea, your body may not get its usual dose of hormones from that pill. In this case the advice concerning missed pills should be followed.

For further information, please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet or click here.

What side effects may I experience?

The most commonly reported side effects are mood alteration, decreased sexual drive (libido), depressed mood, headache, nausea, acne, breast pain, irregular or no menstruation and weight increase. You should see your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of angioedema (such as swollen face, tongue or pharynx; difficulty in swallowing; or hives and difficulties breathing).

For further information, please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet or click here.

Am I at risk of developing breast cancer?

Breast cancer has been observed slightly more often in women who take the pill than in women of the same age who do not take the pill. The risk of breast cancer in users of progesterone only pills is believed to be similar to that in women who use combined oral contraceptive pills.

For further information please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet or click here.

Am I likely to develop a blood clot?

The use of a progesterone only pill carries an increased risk of thrombosis, but this risk is lower than in users of combined oral contraceptive pills.

To find out more about the risk of thrombosis associated with your pill read the Patient Information Leaflet.

Are there any medicines I shouldn’t take whilst I am on this pill?

Contraceptive failure may occur with medications used for the treatment of epilepsy, fungal infections, tuberculosis, HIV and also with St John’s Wort. Before you take any medication it is best to ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as you may need additional contraceptive cover.

Your pill may also interfere with how certain medicines work, causing either an increase in effect (e.g. medicines containing cyclosporine) or a decrease in effect.

Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will advise you if you are unsure about taking other medicines in combination with your pill.

What if this pill does not suit me?

There are lots of other alternative brands all varying in active ingredients and/or dose which may be more suited to you. Ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice.

Am I protected from pregnancy straightaway?

It depends when in your menstrual cycle your pill is started and whether other oral contraceptives were being used during the preceding cycle. Please consult the Patient Information Leaflet in your pill packet, click here or ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist if you are unsure.

Starting Cerelle®

To find out more about taking your pill, please click here to see the Patient Information Leaflet. This contains lots of useful, detailed information about taking your pill, possible side effects and what to do if you miss a pill.

If you have any concerns, or are worried about anything to do with your contraceptive pill, you should speak with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

What should I do if I forget to take my pill?

If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember even if it means taking two pills on the same day. If the missed pill is less than 12 hours late, your contraceptive protection should not be affected and additional contraception should be unnecessary. If the missed pill is more than 12 hours late, or more than one pill in a pack is late, contraceptive cover may be reduced and use of a condom is advised. Click here to see the Patient Information Leaflet for full details and advice . If you miss more than one pill ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist for advice.