Cerelle is a branded version of the "mini-pill", a form of contraceptive pill that only uses a synthetic version of progestogen, rather than a combination of 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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Cerelle is a form of contraception that belongs to the "mini pill" family. This means that it's a progestogen-only pill, with no oestrogen present. The synthetic form of progestogen included in Cerelle is desogestrel. Cerelle is similar to other mini pills using desogestrel as their active ingredient. Cerelle is simply the name of the brand.  

What is Cerelle? 

Cerelle is a branded version of the "mini-pill", a form of contraceptive pill that only uses a synthetic version of progestogen, rather than a combination of progestogen and oestrogen. Cerelle works by stopping the ovaries in the female body from producing eggs to be fertilized by male sperm. This means that you no longer ovulate as normal. Additionally, Cerelle can increase the thickness around the neck of your womb, making it harder for sperm to cross into the womb from the vagina. The Cerelle pill works by creating a hostile environment where it is difficult for pregnancy to happen naturally.  

When is Cerelle used? 

Cerelle is typically one of the mini pills suggested for women who are unable to take the combined pill for any reason. If you have a history with responding badly to drugs that contain oestrogen, then your doctor may prescribe Cerelle instead. This pill is also ideal for helping women to control their periods and manage the discomfort of their menstrual cycle. Women do not need to be sexually active to begin using Cerelle. However, this medication is generally designed for women who are sexually active and do not want to get pregnant.  

How do you use Cerelle? 

Cerelle works much in the same way as any other mini pill. To begin taking this medication, decide what time of day you feel comfortable taking your pill. Following the instructions given by your doctor, take one pill each day, and make sure that it's at the same time each day. When you finish one pack of Cerelle you do not need to take a break before starting another pack unless your doctor tells you to do otherwise.  

The consistent nature of taking Cerelle is better for some women than other pills that require a seven day break, as it allows them to get into a consistent routine where they're less likely to miss a pill. You can take Cerelle with or without food, and you can begin using this pill for the first time on any day in your menstrual cycle. If you start using Cerelle on day one of your period, then you will be protected against pregnancy immediately, and will not need to use any additional forms of contraception. If starting later in the cycle then you must use a barrier contraceptive for 7days. If you have a shorter than usual menstrual cycle, then you may need to use additional contraception alongside Cerelle, so speak to your doctor to be sure. If you take Cerelle at any other time in your menstrual cycle, you will not be protected immediately. Use another form of contraception for the first two days of taking your pill to be safe. If you're beginning to take Cerelle for the first time after giving birth, you will need to wait until day 21 after the birth. You can also begin using Cerelle up to five days after a miscarriage or abortion. You should use a barrier form of contraception for the first 7 days. 

What dosages are available? 

Cerelle is given in a continuous dose. You will be required to take one pill a day, every day without a break to protect against pregnancy. If you forget to take a dose of Cerelle at the time you would usually take it, then take the pill as soon as you remember. If you miss more than one pill, you will only need to take one. However, you will not necessarily be protected against pregnancy. 

If you are less than 12 hours late when taking a dose of Cerelle, then you should still be protected against pregnancy. If you have missed a pill and it has been longer than 12 hours, you will need to use an additional barrier method of contraception, such as condoms, for at least two days before you can return to not using other contraception. If you have unprotected sex in this time, you will need a morning after pill to avoid pregnancy.  

What are the side effects of Cerelle? 

All contraceptive pills, including the mini-pill like Cerelle can come with side effects that you should be aware of. Remember that you will not necessarily experience any side effects when taking this medication. Additionally, there is a chance that you could experience symptoms that are not listed in this guide. The most common side effects of Cerelle include changes to your period, including irregular bleeding or less or more frequent periods. Some people will not experience a period at all when they are taking Cerelle. This is not harmful, although you may want to check with your doctor or take regular pregnancy tests if you are concerned about missing a period.  

It's possible for some people taking Cerelle to experience changes to their mood, including feelings of sudden anxiety, irritability or depression. Other common side effects include acne, feeling sick or nauseous, weight gain or water retention, breast tenderness, breast pain, headaches, and a reduced sex drive.  

Some less common side effects include the presence of more common vaginal infections, vomiting, the loss of hair, fatigue, cysts on the ovaries, and hair loss. If you notice any of those side effects, stop taking Cerelle, and return to other forms of contraception until you have received more information from your doctor. As with all forms of the contraceptive pill, it is possible that taking Cerelle might increase your risk of breast cancer slightly. There is still research ongoing in this area. Additionally, taking a pill can sometimes increase your risk of blood clotting slightly- particularly if you are in a situation where you will be immobile for long periods of time.  

When shouldn't you use Cerelle? 

Cerelle will be a suitable form of progestogen only contraceptive pill for most women. It is an ideal solution for women who cannot take contraceptives that contain oestrogen. However, not all women will respond well to Cerelle. That's why it is important to see your doctor and get their advice before you begin taking Cerelle.  

Cerelle might not be suitable for women who suffer from abnormal vaginal bleeding that has not been investigated by a doctor. It is also not appropriate for women who have a history of breast cancer in their close family or have ever been diagnosed with breast cancer. Your doctor may allow you to take Cerelle if you have been cancer free for five years or more.  

People with liver conditions will not be able to take Cerelle, and it will not be suitable to take this medication if you have ever had a serious arterial disease that may have lead to a heart attack or stroke. Women with acute porphyrias will not be able to take Cerelle. 

Does Cerelle interact with any other medications? 

Before you begin taking Cerelle, it is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any additional medications that you might be taking. Some of these medicines can make Cerelle less effective at preventing pregnancy. For instance, if you take antiepileptic medications like carbamazepine you may not be able to take Cerelle as well. 

Additionally, Cerelle does not react well to medicines for HIV like ritonavir and efavirenz, and it may not be suitable for use with the antifungal called griseofulvin. Tell your doctor if you are taking modafinil for narcolepsy, or any substances that include the herbal substance St John's Wort. Cerelle will work with most antibiotics, but it may not work as it is supposed to when taken alongside antibiotics for tuberculosis like rifampicin or rifabutin. If you are prescribed a short course of medications that your doctor thinks may not interact well with Cerelle, then they may recommend that you use an extra barrier form of contraception during that time. Additionally, you may need to use those barrier methods up to four weeks after you've stopped using the other medications. Make sure your doctor knows about any over-the-counter, prescription or herbal medications that you might be using before you begin using Cerelle.

Where can you buy Cerelle? 

Cerelle is available to purchase from online or offline pharmacies with a prescription from your doctor. This prescription will ensure that you are safe to take Cerelle without any dangerous side effects or interactions. Do not purchase Cerelle from any pharmacy that claims you can take this substance without a prescription. Your doctor will need to look into your medical condition and history to ensure that you can take Cerelle.  

Can you get Cerelle without a prescription?  

It is currently not possible to purchase any form of the contraceptive pill including Cerelle without a prescription from your doctor. This is because there are various risks involved with Cerelle that your doctor needs to be aware of. Getting Cerelle on prescription is the only way to ensure that you are taking the contraceptive pill safely.




British National Formulary. Desogestrel. NICE. [online] Available at: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/desogestrel.html [Accessed on 20th of June 2019], 

Cerelle 75 microgram film-coated tablets. imedi.co.uk. [online] Available at: https://imedi.co.uk/cerelle-75-microgram-film-coated-tablets?doc=1 [Accessed on 20th of June 2019], 

Cerelle 75mg film-coated tablets, Drugs.com, online, 2018, [Accessed on 20th of June 2019], Available at: https://www.drugs.com/uk/cerelle-75-microgram-film-coated-tablets-leaflet.html  

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.