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  • Contraceptive pill
  • Highly effective
  • Not suitable for women who are breastfeeding

About Mercilon

Mercilon is a combined oral contraceptive pill that contains two types of female sex hormones, the progestogen hormone desogestrel and the oestrogen hormone ethinylestradiol. Mercilon contains a low dose of these hormones and is therefore considered a 'light’ contraceptive pill.

The hormones in Mercilon prevent an egg being released from your ovaries and also make the fluid (mucus) in your cervix thicker, so you can’t get pregnant. When taken as directed, Mercilon is a highly effective contraceptive.


To prevent pregnancy, always take this medicine exactly as described in this leaflet. The general guidelines for use are:

  • Each strip of Mercilon contains 21 tablets. One tablet is taken every day at the same time each day. Follow the direction of the arrows on the strip. Take one tablet each day, until you have finished all 21 tablets.
  • After you have taken all 21 tablets in the strip, you have seven days when you take no tablets. During this tablet-free week, you should have a withdrawal bleed like a period. This bleed typically occurs within two or three days of taking the last tablet from the strip.
  • Start taking your next strip of Mercilon on day 8 – even if you are still bleeding. As long as you take Mercilon correctly, you will always start each new strip on the same day of
  • the week (and your withdrawal bleed on roughly the same day each month).
  • Check the package leaflet to see when to start your first pack of Mercilon.
  • If you want to delay your period, check the package leaflet for instructions.

If you take more Mercilon than you should or miss a dose

If you swallow too many Mercilon tablets at the same time, or you think a child may have swallowed some, consult a doctor.

If you miss a tablet and it is less than 12 hours ago, you can still take the forgotten pill without an increased risk of falling pregnant. If more than 12 hours have passed, the pill can be less effective. For precise instructions on what to do if this is the case, see the package leaflet.

If you vomit within three to four hours after taking your tablet or have severe diarrhoea, the active ingredient may not have been completely absorbed, which increases the chance of unwanted pregnancy. Refer to the package leaflet for instructions or consult a doctor.

When not to use Mercilon

Mercilon is not suitable for every female. You should not use Mercilon if you have any of the conditions listed below:

  • If you have, or have had, a blood clot in a blood vessel (thrombosis), for instance in your legs (deep vein thrombosis), your lungs (pulmonary embolus), heart (causing a heart attack) or other part of the body.
  • If you have had a recent stroke caused by a blood clot or blood vessel rupture in the brain.
  • If you have, or have had, a condition that is linked to an increased risk of heart attack (e.g., angina pectoris or chest pain) or mini-stroke (also known as TIA or transient ischaemic attack).
  • If you have, or have had, migraine in combination with visual disturbances, speech problems, or pins and needles or motor paralysis sensations in any part of your body.
  • If you have diabetes with blood vessel damage.
  • If you have, or have had, an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) associated with
    high levels of fatty substances in your blood.
  • If you have jaundice (yellowing of the skin) or a severe liver disease.
  • If you have had tumours that may grow under the influence of sex hormones (e.g., of the breast or the genital organs).
  • If you have, or have had, a benign or malignant liver tumour.
  • If you have any unexplained vaginal bleeding.
  • If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
  • If you are allergic to any ingredient in Mercilon.

If you suffer from any of these conditions or symptoms, or get them for the first time while taking Mercilon, stop taking Mercilon immediately and contact your doctor. You should use a non-hormonal method of contraception until you talk to your doctor.

When should this medicine be used with caution?

Talk to your doctor before taking Mercilon if:

  • You smoke, have diabetes or are overweight.
  • You have high blood pressure. If you get high blood pressure while taking the pill, your doctor may advise you to stop taking Mercilon.
  • You have a heart valve disorder or certain heart rhythm disorder.
  • You have vein inflammation (superficial phlebitis) or varicose veins.
  • Anyone in your immediate family has had thrombosis, a heart attack or stroke.
  • You suffer from migraine headaches.
  • You have surgery planned in the near future or have long-term mobility issues. This can increase the risk of thrombosis. Make sure your doctor knows that you are taking the pill. You may need to stop taking the Mercilon for several weeks.
  • You have epilepsy.
  • You, or anyone in your immediate family, has had high cholesterol or raised levels of triglycerides in the blood.
  • Anyone in your immediate family has, or has had, breast cancer.
  • You have liver disease or gall bladder disease.
  • You have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • You have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
  • You have haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).
  • You have sickle cell disease.
  • You have a condition that occurred for the first time, or worsened during pregnancy or previous use of sex hormones (e.g., hearing loss, a metabolic disease called porphyria, a skin disease called herpes gestationis, a neurological disease called Sydenham’s chorea).
  • You have, or have had, chloasma (yellowish-brown pigmentation patches on the skin, particularly of the face). If so, avoid exposure to the sun or ultraviolet radiation.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Do not use Mercilon if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Other medicines and Mercilon

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines, including medicines obtained without a prescription.

Some medicines may make Mercilon less effective. These include medicines for:

  • Epilepsy (e.g., primidone, phenytoin, barbiturates, carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, topiramate, felbamate).
  • Tuberculosis (e.g., rifampicin, rifabutin).
  • AIDS (e.g., ritonavir, nevirapine).
  • Certain infections (e.g., griseofulvin, penicillin, tetracycline).
  • Depression (St John’s Wort, or Hypericum perforatum).

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if you need to take additional contraceptive precautions.

Mercilon may also interfere with how other medicines work. Be sure to tell any other doctors, dentists and pharmacists who treat you that you are taking Mercilon or have recently taking this medicine.

See the package leaflet for more warnings associated with the use of Mercilon.

Side effects

The following side effects have been reported by users, although it is unclear whether these side effects are caused by Mercilon. These side effects may occur in the first few months of taking Mercilon. Most side effects will disappear with continued use.

Very common/common (may affect more than 1 in 1,000 women):

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, diarrhoea, stomach ache).
  • Fluid retention, weight gain.
  • Headache, migraines.
  • Decreased sex drive, depression, mood changes.
  • Breast pain or tenderness, breast enlargement.
  • Skin rash, hives.

For a list of less common or rare side effects, please see the package leaflet. These include severe side effects such as an increased risk of having a blood clot in the veins and arteries (thrombosis) or certain types of cancer. Read the package leaflet carefully and contact your doctor or pharmacist with questions.

What Mercilon contains

The active substances are desogestrel (150 mcg) and ethinyl estradiol (20 mcg).

The other ingredients are: potato starch, anhydrous colloidal silicon dioxide, lactose monohydrate, povidone, stearic acid, dl-alpha-tocopherol.

The manufacturer of Mercilon is:

Organon (Ireland) Ltd. Drynam Road / P.O. Box 2857
Co. Dublin

Package leaflet

Read the package leaflet before use. The official package leaflet of Mercilon is available for download here.

Patient Leaflet(s)

Reviewed by:

Dr Wouter Mol, General practitioner Registrationnumber: BIG: 9057675501 Last checked: 18-09-2023 | Still valid

Affiliated doctors

You know perfectly well what's good and what isn't good for you. Nevertheless, making the right choice can be difficult. We are Dokteronline. We believe in self-management when it comes to your health.

Dr. E. Tanase

MD General practitioner / emergency medicine

Dr. P. Mester

MD General practitioner / internal medicine

Dr. I. Malik

MD General practitioner / general medicine
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