desogestrel 75mg, contraception treatment

What is Desogestrel?

Desogestrel, a progestogen-only pill (POP) or mini-pill, contains a low dose of the progestogen desogestrel, a female sex hormone. Its primary purpose is to prevent pregnancy. There are two main types of hormonal contraceptives: 

The combined pill (COC), commonly known as "The Pill," which includes both an oestrogen and a progestogen. 

The progestogen-only pill (POP) or mini-pill, which doesn’t contain oestrogen. 

Desogestrel falls is a POP. It differs from other mini-pills as it also effectively inhibits the ripening of the egg cell.  

While most POPs focus on preventing sperm cells from entering the womb, Desogestrel's mechanism enhances its contraceptive efficacy by primarily stopping the egg cell from maturing. This makes it a highly reliable contraceptive option. 

What is Desogestrel used for?

Desogestrel is a progestogen-only oral contraceptive pill, also known as a POP or mini-pill. It helps to prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus, to prevent sperm from passing through and (unlike other contraceptive pills) it is capable of preventing an egg cell from ripening, so there is no egg cell to be fertilised by sperm.  

If taken at a similar time every day, it is 99% effective. You must take the pill every day without a break. You may experience irregular bleeding or no bleeding at all when taking this pill. Desogestrel is suitable for those who cannot take contraceptive pills that contain oestrogen, such as smokers over 35 and those who are breastfeeding. Desogestrel protects against pregnancy but provides no protection against STIs.   

Who can and cannot take medicines containing Desogestrel?

Desogestrel is suitable for most individuals as a hormonal contraception but it may not be suitable for everyone. 

Who can't take Desogestrel: 

  • individuals with a history of thrombosis 

  • those with jaundice or severe liver disease and abnormal liver function 

  • individuals diagnosed with or suspected of having cancer influenced by sex-steroids, such as certain types of breast cancer 

  • people with unexplained vaginal bleeding 

  • those allergic to desogestrel, peanuts, soya, or any other ingredients listed in the patient information leaflet 

If any of these apply to you, inform your doctor before considering Desogestrel. Your doctor will provide guidance and may suggest alternative contraceptive methods if needed. Additionally, regular check-ups are recommended, and you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any concerning symptoms while taking Desogestrel.   

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Do I take Desogestrel each day?

You take one pill every day, with no break between packs of pills. You should aim to take it at the same time each day for optimal effectiveness. If you take it more than 12 hours late – it may not be effective. If you're sick (vomit) or have severe diarrhoea, you may not be protected from getting pregnant. Desogestrel, and all other oral contraceptives, don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms are also recommended if you’re with a new sexual partner or you and your current partner haven’t had a recent STI check.  

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Frequently asked questions