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Facial Hair

Dianette (cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol)


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Dianette contains cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol. This combination is also called co-cyprindiol. Cyproterone acetate is a type of medicine known as an anti-androgen. Ethinylestradiol is a synthetic oestrogen. The main use of Dianette is for women with acne that has not responded to long term antibiotics or moderately severe hirsutism (excess hair). It also acts as an oral contraceptive and so is capable of preventing you from getting pregnant. However its use as a contraceptive should be limited to women requiring treatment for acne or hirsutism as well, as its side effects can be worse than for other oral contraceptives. It is not suitable for men.

Dianette blocks androgen-receptors, therefore preventing androgens affecting the skin and also reduces the creation of androgens by the body.

Androgens are hormones that stimulate hair growth and the glands in your skin that produce sebum which is a natural grease that keeps the skin waterproof and flexible. If you produce too much androgen, or if you are sensitive to its effect, the grease glands may produce too much sebum. This can result in the glands becoming blocked and then infected and inflamed causing acne spots.

As androgens also stimulate hair growth, Dianette also reduces this affect and so is useful to treat moderately excessive hair growth on the face or body, also known as hirsutism.

This medicine will stop you getting pregnant by working in three ways:

  • By preventing an egg being released from your ovaries;
  • By making the fluid (mucus) in your cervix thicker, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb
  • By preventing the lining of your womb thickening enough for an egg to grow in it.

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How to Use Dianette

Dianette should only be taken if prescribed for you by a registered doctor. Dianette should not be used by men. If you are taking Dianette for acne or excessive hair, you must not take any other hormonal contraceptive at the same time. When your skin condition has cleared up and you stop taking Dianette, you will need to go back to your normal method of contraception. It's important to have regular smear tests and examine your own breasts and nipples for changes whilst taking Dianette. If you have to have a blood test or go for an operation you must tell your doctor that you are taking Dianette.

Do not take Dianette if you are breastfeeding your baby.

If you fall pregnant, stop taking Dianette and tell your doctor immediately.

There are several medical conditions where Dianette should not be used or only with caution, including current or previous circulation problems, severe high blood pressure or diabetes, depression, obesity, or certain types of migraine. It's very important to tell the doctor of any medical conditions you have and any medicines you take, both prescribed and purchased without a prescription.

Dianette is a 21-day pill - you take one each day for 21 days at roughly the same time of day, followed by 7 days when you take no pills. Swallow the pill whole with water and do not chew the pill.

Complete removal acne can expected for nearly all women. This can occur within a few months, but in particularly severe cases treatment for longer may be necessary before the full benefit is seen. It is recommended that Dianette is withdrawn 3 to 4 months after the acne or excessive hair is completely resolved and that Dianette is not continued solely to provide oral contraception. Repeat courses of Dianette may be given if the acne or excessive hair reappears.

You should consult the patient information leaflet for Dianette for full details of how to tale this medicine. Details of this can also be found

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Dianette side effects

Like all medicines, Dianette can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Bleeding and spotting between your periods can sometimes occur for the first few months but this usually stops once your body has adjusted to Dianette. If it continues, becomes heavy or starts again, contact your doctor.

Serious side effects can occur and should you experience any of the following you should contact your doctor immediately:

Signs of a blood clot: a migraine for the first time, a migraine that is worse than normal, or unusually frequent or severe headaches, any sudden changes to your eyesight (such as loss of vision or blurred vision), any sudden changes to your hearing, speech, sense of smell, taste or touch, pain or swelling in your leg, stabbing pain when you breathe, coughing for no apparent reason, pain and tightness in the chest, sudden weakness or numbness in one side or part of your body, dizziness or fainting.

Signs of a severe allergic reaction or worsening of hereditary angioedema: swelling of the hands, face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat. A swollen tongue/throat may lead to difficulty swallowing and breathing, a red bumpy rash (hives) and itching.

Signs of breast cancer include: dimpling of the skin, changes in the nipple, any lumps you can see or feel.

Signs of cancer of the cervix include: vaginal discharge that smells and/or contains blood, unusual vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain, painful sex.

Signs of severe liver problems include: severe pain in your upper abdomen, yellow skin or eyes (jaundice), inflammation of the liver (hepatitis), your whole body starts itching.

The patient information leaflet contains a list of symptoms which indicate that Dianette should be stopped immediately, and this leaflet should be read before Dianette is used.

Less serious side effects can also occur including feeling or being sick, stomach ache, putting on weight, headaches, depressive moods or mood swings, sore or painful breasts, fluid retention, migraine, loss of interest in sex, breast enlargement, skin rash (which may be itchy).

You should consult the full list of side effects for Dianette on the patient information leaflet provided with your treatment. Details of this can also be found here.

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Please select your prescription type

No Prescription? No Problem! Visit our Online Doctor for a confidential consultation.

You will be required to send you paper prescription (what is this) Issued by your doctor to us in the post before we send you any medication.

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*Information provided by the NHSBSA April 2015 | † Free UK delivery over £40, excludes aerosols & flammable goods, standard delivery only
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