What is Dianette?
Dianette is a medicine that is used to treat excessive hair growth (hirsutism) and severe acne in women. It contains the active ingredients cyproterone and ethinylestradiol. Cyproterone is a type of medicine called an anti-androgen: it reduces the effects of male hormones. Dianette is a prescription-only medicine.
What is Dianette used for?
Dianette is used to treat severe acne (accompanied by subcutaneous infections and greasy skin) and hirsutism or excess unwanted hair in women. Hirsutism and acne can be the result of excessive production of male sex hormones (androgens). Dianette prevents the actions of androgens, which helps eliminate or reduce the symptoms. Dianette also contains ethinylestradiol, which is a synthetic version of the naturally-occurring female hormone oestrogen. A side effect of this ingredient is that it prevents ovulation and changes the lining of the womb, making it is less suitable for any fertilised eggs to successfully implant. Dianette used to be used as a contraceptive. However, due to the side effects with prolonged use it is no longer prescribed for this purpose.
How to use Dianette
Dianette comes in blister packs containing 21 tablets. One tablet is taken every day for 21 days at the same time each day. Then you have a seven-day break from pill-taking. During this seven-day break, you will have a withdrawal bleed that is similar to your normal period. You start the next pack after the seven pill-free days are up. Dianette is usually prescribed as a course of several weeks or months. If the symptoms return, the doctor may prescribe a new course.
The usual dose in adult women is:
- One tablet taken at the same time each day for three weeks. After 21 days, there is a seven-day break (pill-free week). Repeat cycle for as long as the doctor prescribes.
Read the package leaflet before use.
One side effect of Dianette is that it prevents pregnancy. Once you stop taking this medicine you are not protected. Other side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine include:
- Menstrual spotting or breakthrough bleeding;
- Gastrointestinal symptoms;
- Fluid retention;
- Breast tenderness or soreness;
Consult a doctor if these or other side effects are severe or persistent. For more information on side effects, see the package leaflet. It is important to be aware that women taking Dianette appear to have a small increase in the risk of developing a blood clot in a vein (venous thromboembolism) compared to women who don’t.
When not to use Dianette
Dianette is not suitable for everyone and should not be used if:
- You are allergic to cyproterone, ethinylestradiol or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- You have ever had a blood clot in a vein (venous thromboembolism) or have an increased risk of blood clots or hormone-related cancer;
- You have ever had a stroke;
- You have a disease affecting the liver or pancreas, a history of migraines with motor paralysis symptoms, or vaginal bleeding of unknown cause.
Consult a doctor on the use of Dianette if you have a health condition that is not listed above.
Do not use Dianette in combination with a contraceptive. Be sure to tell the doctor what other medicines you are taking when you order from our partner pharmacy. This is to avoid potential interaction and to make sure that the combination with Dianette is safe. See the package leaflet for a complete list of contraindications, interactions and warnings.
Do not use Dianette if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding.
This medicine does not interact with alcohol or affect your ability to drive safely.
Note: Dianette is only prescribed to females with hormonally-induced acne and to treat hirsutism (excessive hair growth). The Dianette pill is not intended as a contraceptive. This is because Dianette has been linked to an increase in the risk of developing a blood clot in a vein (venous thromboembolism), particularly in women who have just started using Dianette, smoke and/or are older than 35 years. Our affiliated doctors always assess the medical questionnaires meticulously for risk factors. Therefore, we trust that the information provided is accurate.
For more information and a list of alternative contraceptives, please refer to Contraceptives.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has concluded that the benefits of Dianette for acne sufferers outweigh the increased risk of thromboembolism.
Click to read the EMA press release.
I was prescribed Diane for my acne. I had severe cystic acne caused by overly high levels of testosterone. It felt like the acne went away overnight! I have used it for over 10 years and have had no health problems. You do gain a little weight but it is worth it. All i ever hear now is how beautiful my skin is. It also helps with thinning hair. I call them the "the pretty pills"