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Dianette (cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol)

What is Dianette?

Dianette acts as an oral contraceptive that is capable of stopping you getting pregnant. It is also used by women to treat acne (who have not responded to long-term antibiotics) or moderately severe hirsutism (excess hair).

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How does Dianette work?

Dianette contains cyproterone acetate and ethinylestradiol – a combination also known as co-cyprindiol. Cyproterone acetate is a type of medicine known as an anti-androgen, and ethinylestradiol is a synthetic oestrogen. This medicine will stop you getting pregnant by working in three ways:

  • It prevents an egg being released from your ovaries
  • It makes the mucus in your cervix thicker, so it is more difficult for sperm to get into your womb
  • It prevents a thickness in the womb lining, so an egg cannot grow in it

How to take Dianette

Dianette is a 21-day pill – take one daily for a three-week period, at roughly the same time every day. Once the course is completed, you do not take the pill for seven days. During the period when the pill is to be taken, swallow it with water and ensure it is not chewed.

Is Dianette suitable for me?

You should only take Dianette if the treatment has been prescribed by a registered doctor or medical professional, and under no circumstances should it be taken by men. Whilst taking the pill, it is important to regularly examine your nipples and breasts for any potential changes, and have smear tests on a more common basis. You need to make your doctor well aware of the fact that you are taking Dianette if you’re due to undergo an operation or have a blood test. If you are breastfeeding, you should not take the treatment, and if you fall pregnant whilst on Dianette, speak with your doctor right away.

Dianette should not be taken if you suffer from one of the following medical conditions: obesity, circulatory problems, diabetes or a high blood pressure, depression or migraines. It is vital you make your doctor aware of any pre-existing medical conditions, or any medications you are taking, whether they’re prescribed or purchased.

A full patient information leaflet can be found with the product, or alternatively you can view it online here.

Although Dianette has its uses as a contraceptive, it should be limited in women requiring treatment for acne or hirsutism, as its side effects can be felt more than other oral contraceptives.

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What are the side effects of Dianette?

As is common with all medicines, there are potential side effects that come with taking Dianette. However, it is worth noting that not everyone will experience them.

During the first few months, spotting or bleeding may occur between your periods. This tends to stop once your body is used to Dianette, but if it continues or worsens, speak with your doctor.

Contact your doctor straight away if you are experiencing any of the following serious side effects: Signs of cancer of the cervix: Pain in the pelvis, discharge from the vagina that smells and/or contains blood, unusual bleeding from the vagina, or painful intercourse.

Signs of a severe allergic reaction or worsening of hereditary angioedema: Swollen lips, face, mouth, lips, hands tongue or throat – the latter two may cause trouble with swallowing or breathing – swelling of the hands, face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat. You may also notice a lumpy red rash (hives) or have extremely itchy skin.

Signs of severe liver problems: Symptoms include a yellowing of the eyes and skin (also known as jaundice), itchy skin, upper abdomen pain and inflammation of the liver (hepatitis).

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

Signs of a blood clot: There is a wide range of symptoms such as migraines (whether it’s the first you have suffered, or one much more severe than you have ever had), stabbing pains or noticeable swelling of the legs, dizziness or fainting, or sharp pains when you inhale. You may also suffer from blurred or lost vision, sudden changes to your senses of taste, touch and smell – as well as your hearing and speech – numbness or a weakness in a specific body part, tightness in your chest or have a cough for no apparent reason.

You may also be susceptible to suffering from less serious side effects. This may include feeling sick, suffering from stomach aches, gaining noticeable weight, getting headaches or migraines, or having a skin rash. Other side effects consist of painful or sore breasts, depressive mood swings, your body retaining fluids and a lack of sex drive.

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

For a full list of side effects and advice about what you need to look out for, please read the patient information leaflet that comes with Dianette.

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