Cerazette is a progestogen-only contraceptive pill that is used to prevent pregnancy. It can be used by women of all ages up until they reach the menopause. This medicine is often referred to as the mini pill and only contains progestogen, as opposed to the combined pill which contains both progestogen and oestrogen. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Cerazette is a birth control pill that is used to prevent pregnancy. It is an oral contraceptive pill that contains a synthetic version of the female hormone progestogen. It does not contain oestrogen. This kind of pill is known as a POP (progestogen-only pill). Cerazette is also referred to as the mini pill. It comes in 75 mg tablets and you take it continuously at the same time every day with no break. 

What is Cerazette? 

Cerazette is a progestogen-only contraceptive pill that is used to prevent pregnancy. It can be used by women of all ages up until they reach the menopause. This medicine is often referred to as the mini pill and only contains progestogen, as opposed to the combined pill which contains both progestogen and oestrogen. Some women are unable to take oestrogen for various reasons (poor tolerance or health issues requiring them to take a reduced amount of oestrogen), and so a mini pill containing only progestogen can be suitable for them. 

Cerazette is also suitable for mothers who are breastfeeding. Progestogen is the female sex hormone that occurs naturally in the body. Cerazette contains a small amount of a synthetic (man-made) form of progestogen which is known as desogestrel. Desogestrel is the actual medication and Cerazette is the brand name for it. Note there are also other brands of the mini pill on the market. Desogestrel was discovered in 1972 and was first used for medical purposes in 1981. Desogestrel (Cerazette) works in two ways on the female reproductive system. It thickens cervical mucus so sperm (the male reproductive cells) have difficulty in reaching the egg and it also prevent the release of the egg (ovulation). This process prevents pregnancy.  

When is Cerazette used? 

Cerazette is used if a woman wants to prevent pregnancy, wishes to use oral contraception and is unable to take a pill containing oestrogen. This may be because she is intolerant to oestrogen, is breastfeeding or for other medical reasons. Cerazette is suitable for women of all ages and can be taken until the menopause. On average menopause occurs between a woman´s late 40s and when she reaches the age of 55. It can be difficult to know if you are starting the menopause if you are taking oral contraceptives.  

When the menopause starts this is known as perimenopause. You could be taking the mini pill and still experience symptoms of menopause such as hot flushes and irregular bleeding. Or the mini pill could cover the symptoms and you could not realise your body is going through the menopause. If you have any suspicions you are experiencing the menopause whilst taking Cerazette you should talk to your doctor. You can take Cerazette safely to prevent pregnancy while you are breastfeeding. You should wait until 21 days after giving birth before starting this medicine. There is a myth that a woman cannot become pregnant if she is breastfeeding. This is not true and if you do not wish to become pregnant again soon after giving birth or whilst you have a young child but wish to resume an active sex life, it is advisable to take contraception. If you are breastfeeding Cerazette may be a suitable solution for you. Cerazette can also be used by women who have heavy periods as the bleed while taking the mini pill is usually considerably lighter than when taking the combined pill. 

How do you use Cerazette? 

Cerazette comes in a pack of 28 x 75 mg tablets. For convenience, you can purchase packs in a single size or in packs of 3, 6, 9 or 12 x 28 tablets. The larger packs can be convenient so you don´t need to remember to buy your contraceptive frequently. You take one Cerazette pill every day at the same time. The pack is marked with the days of the week to help you remember when to take a pill. This progestogen pill (mini pill) is taken consistently every day. You do not take a break as you do with the combined (oestrogen and progestogen pill).  

When you take the combined pill and stop the pills for 7 days you usually have a period. This does not happen with the mini pill, although you may experience some breakthrough bleeding. This is another reason why some women choose to take the mini pill, as it can help avoid heavy periods. Cerazette should be taken every day at the same time, with or without food and with a drink of water.  

If you start to take Cerazette on days 1-5 of your period it will be effective immediately (i.e. you should not get pregnant). If you start to take it on any other days during your menstrual cycle you should use additional contraceptive protection (such as a condom) until you have taken Cerazette for two consecutive days. When you commence taking Cerazette pick a time of day when you will remember to take your pill each day. This could be in the morning as soon as you get up or last thing at night before you go to bed.  

When you begin taking Cerazette you may find your periods change. They could become irregular or stop completely. Also, if you had irregular periods before taking the mini pill you may find they become more regular. Any changes in menstruation do not mean the mini pill is not working, but if this occurs you should talk to your doctor. 

What if you miss a pill? 

It is advisable to take this pill within twelve hours of the last pill however; we recommend taking it at virtually the same time every day. This means taking your contraceptive becomes a habit and you are less likely to forget it and therefore will avoid an unplanned pregnancy. 

If you forget to take a Cerazette pill you should take it as soon as you remember. You may remember when it is your daily time to take the pill. You can take both as this is not harmful. However, you should not take more than two pills together. If more than twelve hours have passed from taking your last pill you may not be protected against pregnancy and so you should use an additional method of contraception, such as a condom. This applies to the two days following you forgetting to take the pill. Once you have taken the pill for two days again at the regular time you will be protected. 

If you are sick or have diarrhoea you should use additional contraception for at least two days as your body may not have absorbed enough desogestrel to prevent pregnancy.  It is important to note that Cerazette must be taken continuously, every day, for it to work correctly. Even if you do not have sex for a few days or weeks if you do not wish to become pregnant you should continue to take your pill as prescribed. Cerazette cannot be used spontaneously to prevent pregnancy. Cerazette is not a medication to prevent catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI).  

What dosages are there? 

Cerazette is taken as one 75 mg tablet daily continuously. You do not have a break in between packs of the progestogen-only pill as you do with the combined progestogen and oestrogen pill. You should take your pill at the same time every day. 

What are the side effects of Cerazette? 

There are few side effects when taking Cerazette, but as with all medicines, side effects are possible. These can include: 

  • Breast tenderness 
  • Spots or acne 
  • Mood changes 
  • Headaches or migraines 
  • Nausea  
  • Vomiting 
  • Weight gain 
  • Changes in menstruation 
  • A decrease in libido (sex drive) 

If you are concerned about the side effects when taking Cerazette you should discuss this with your doctor. 

When shouldn’t you use Cerazette? 

You should not use Cerazette if: 

  • You are allergic to desogestrel or any of Cerazette’s ingredients (check the package leaflet) 
  • You have or have had breast cancer 
  • You experience unexplained bleeding that is different from your normal menstrual bleeding 
  • You have had a stroke 
  • You have thrombosis 
  • You have heart disease or an arterial disorder 
  • You have or have had a hormone-related cancer  
  • If you are pregnant 

If you have had any of the above you should advise your doctor and not take Cerazette. It is also important to tell your doctor if you are taking any herbal medicines. You can take Cerazette if you are breastfeeding. Alcohol does not have an effect on this medicine. Cerazette does not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. 

Does Cerazette interact with other medication? 

There are some medications that may interact with Cerazette and could make it less effective, which may cause pregnancy. It is important to inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, including herbal medicines so they can decide if Cerazette is appropriate for you. If you are taking certain medicines your doctor may advise you to use an alternative method of contraception or use a condom in addition to Cerazette. 

Where can you buy Cerazette? 

Cerazette is a prescription-only medication and you can only buy it at a pharmacy. 

Can I get Cerazette without a prescription? 

No. You need a prescription to buy Cerazette, it is not an over-the-counter medication. 




Cerazette 75 microgram film-coated tablet (n.d.) Retrieved April 30, 2019 from https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/1698/smpc 

Package leaflet: CERAZETTE. 75 microgram tablets desogestrel. September 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2019 from https://www.dokteronline.com/pils/en/patient_information_leaflet-2780-cerazette-uk.pdf-1510756509.pdf 

The progestogen-only pill (n.d.) Retrieved April 30, 2019 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/the-pill-progestogen-only/ 

Assessed by:

Dr Wouter Mol, General practitioner
Registration number: BIG: 9057675501

Dr Wouter Mol studied medicine at the University of Groningen. From 2002 to 2003, he served as a resident in neurology, and from 2003 to 2005 he served his residency training in internal medicine and emergency medicine. Wouter Mol has been working as a GP since 2005.