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Progestogen-only contraceptive pills, like Cerazette, contain progestogens but not oestrogens. They help to make it harder for the sperm to penetrate the womb by thickening the cervical mucus. Some can also help to stop ovulation depending on the type of progestogen they contain. If taken correctly, they are over 99% successful at preventing pregnancy.
What is Cerazette and what is it used for?
Cerazette is a progesterone-only oral contraceptive pill. Its active ingredient is desogestrel, a synthetic version of the female sex hormone progesterone. Combined contraceptive pills contain a form of oestrogen, whereas progesterone-only pills such as Cerazette can be used by women who cannot take oestrogen. For example, progesterone-only pills are safe to use if you are breastfeeding, you smoke or you are overweight. If used correctly, Cerazette is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
There are 28 tablets in each pack of Cerazette. There is no interval in this treatment cycle – take the first pill of your next pack the day after finishing the first. Cerazette should be taken regularly at roughly the same time every day within a 12-hour window. If you miss one pill anywhere in your pack and it is less than 12 hours late, take it as soon as you remember even if it means taking two pills in a day. You should continue taking your pills as normal and you will not need additional contraception. If you miss more than one pill or it is more than 12 hours late you will lose your contraceptive cover and extra contraception will be required for at least 7 days.
How does Cerazette work?
Pregnancy occurs when an egg released from the ovaries is fertilised by sperm. In a normal menstrual cycle, the ovaries release one egg each month – this is the process of ovulation. Cerazette increases progesterone levels in such a way that prevents the release of an egg. It also thickens the fluid in the cervix, preventing sperm from entering the womb and fertilising any eggs which are released.
Periods & bleeding whilst taking Cerazette
Most women, who take Cerazette or any other mini-pill, will experience changes to their periods but most irregular bleeding will resolve within the first few months. It is, however, not uncommon for some women to experience no monthly period for the whole time they are taking any progesterone-only pill.
If you carry on experiencing constant bleeding, spotting or irregular bleeding after the first few months of taking Cerazette, or you are worried, you should speak to a doctor, pharmacist or nurse for advice.
How to use Cerazette
Before starting Cerazette you must ensure that you have read and understood how to take this medication, which is detailed in the Patient Information Leaflet.
Cerazette is for oral use only, to prevent pregnancy. It can be prescribed online by our medical team at The Independent Pharmacy for women over the age of 18 years who have had it previously prescribed by their GP.
- Take 1 Cerazette tablet every day at the same time with a glass of water until the packet is empty. Each pack contains 28 pills.
- Start each new packet on the top row and take the tablet that correlates with the right day of the week printed on the pack over each tablet and follow the arrows.
- When you finish a pack, start a new pack, in the same way, on the following day. Do not have a break.
How do you start taking Cerazette?
If you are not currently using or have not used any hormonal contraception in the past month:
- Wait for your period to start and take your first Cerazette tablet on day 1 of your period.
- You will not need to use any barrier contraceptives such as condoms to prevent pregnancy.
- If you start taking Cerazette anytime after day 1 of your period you will need to use a barrier method of contraception for 7 days.
If you are switching from a combined pill, vaginal ring or transdermal patch:
- Take your first Cerazette tablet, on the first day after your tablet, ring or patch-free break of your previous contraceptive and use barrier contraception such as condoms for 7 days.
- Do not have a tablet, ring or patch-free break and start taking Cerazette the day after you take your last tablet from your present pack, or on the day of removal of your vaginal ring or patch. You will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
If you are changing from any other progestogen-only-pill:
- You can switch on any day and you will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
If you are changing from an injection or implant or hormonal IUS such as the coil:
- Take your first Cerazette tablet the day your next injection is due or on the day that your implant or your IUS is removed. You will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
If you are using Cerazette after having a baby:
- Start taking Cerelle between day 21 and 28 after your baby is born. You will not need to use additional barrier contraception.
- If you start taking Cerazette after day 28 you will need to use a barrier contraceptive such as a condom, during the first 7 days.
What if I missed a Cerazette pill?
If you are over 12 hours late taking Cerazette or you vomit or have diarrhoea with 3-4 hours, this counts as a “missed pill”:
- Take the “missed pill” as soon as you remember or as soon as you feel well enough and then continue to take your pills at the usual time the next day. You may need to take 2 on the same day.
- You should use a barrier method of contraception such as a condom for 7 days to protect you from pregnancy.
- If you are more than 12 hours late taking your pill and have had sex, you can use emergency contraception to protect you from pregnancy.
If you are less than 12 hours late taking your Cerazette tablet:
- Take the late pill as soon as you remember and take the next tablet at the usual time.
- You will still be protected from pregnancy.