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Co-cyprindiol

Co-cyprindiol

Co-cyprindiol is a prescription medication that requires a prescription to access. You will not be able to purchase these pills over the counter. Co-cyprindiol is a medication that contains two active ingredients, ethinylestradiol, and cyproterone acetate. 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.

Co-cyprindiol is a combined pill that contains two active ingredients, ethinylestradiol, and cyproterone acetate. This medication is otherwise known as an anti-androgen. The androgen is a male hormone that can be produced by both men and women.  

What is Co-cyprindiol? 

Co-cyprindiol is a prescription medication that requires a prescription to access. You will not be able to purchase these pills over the counter. Co-cyprindiol is a medication that contains two active ingredients, ethinylestradiol, and cyproterone acetate. The combination of the two medications is known widely as Co-cyprindiol. However, you may receive a branded version of this medication called Dianette tablets.  

Many people refer to Co-cyprindiol as a combined contraceptive pill. However, this medication is a very specific kind of hormone based medication called an anti-androgen. The androgens in the human body are a male sex hormone that can be produced by women and men alike. These hormones stimulate the growth of skin, and the production of oil or hair in the skin. Co-cyprindiol works to reduce the action of androgens. The result of this medication is a reduction in the production of excessive hair and sebum.  

Co-cyprindiol can also be used as a combined contraceptive pill, over-riding the natural cycle that women go through during menstruation. The active ingredients in Co-cyprindiol are synthetic versions of the female hormones, progesterone and estrogen. These substances will stop the ovaries from releasing an egg each month. Additionally, Co-cyprindiol increases the thickness of the mucus around the cervix, so it’s hard for the sperm to cross into the womb.  

When is Co-cyprindiol used? 

Co-cyprindiol is commonly prescribed for three reasons. The first reason that you may be given Co-cyprindiol is to treat adult acne in women. If you have serious problems with acne that isn’t getting better with the use of antibiotics, then your doctor or consultant might suggest Co-cyprindiol. Additionally, Co-cyprindiol can also be used to treat something called hirsutism in women.  

If you suffer from Hirsutism, then hair may grow excessively around your chest and face. This is a problem that is common in people with polycystic ovary syndrome. In some cases, Co-cyprindiol will also be prescribed as a contraceptive pill. In most cases however, doctors will not prescribe Co-cyprindiol solely as a contraceptive solution.  

Co-cyprindiol has a higher risk of causing blood clots than other contraceptive pills because of its unique ingredients. Your doctor or consultant will suggest other forms of contraception first.  

How do you use Co-cyprindiol? 

When starting any new treatment, it is important to ensure that you know how to use the medication that is given to you. You will be given instructions and guidance by the consultant that provides your medication. At the same time, you should be able to get more information by reading the printed information included on the patient leaflet inside the packet for Co-cyprindiol.  

The patient leaflet included with Co-cyprindiol will provide information about how this medication works, as well as the sort of side effects that you may experience when you use this medication.  

Co-cyprindiol works best when it is taken on the first day of your period. Starting on the first day of your period, your doctor or consultant will recommend taking a single tablet each day for a period of 21 days. Like many combined contraceptive pills, Co-cyprindiol comes with a seven day break. You will need to avoid taking pills during those seven days, but you should still be protected against pregnancy at that time.  

To make Co-cyprindiol more effective, either for the treatment of acne, or as a contraceptive, it’s best to take this medication at the same time every day. This is very important if you are using Co-cyprindiol to prevent against pregnancy. If you forget to use Co-cyprindiol one day, then you will need to take it as soon as you remember, then take the next dose at the correct time – usually more than 12 hours after your first tablet. Your protection against pregnancy may be reduced if you miss a tablet and forget to take another one for more than 12 hours.  

What dosages are there? 

Co-cyprindiol comes in a packet with the days written across the top. This will help you to ensure that you are taking one tablet every day, as you are supposed to. Similar to many other contraceptive pills, Co-cyprindiol comes in a packet of 21 days. You will need to take a single tablet, once per day for 21 days, followed by a seven day break.  

During the seven day break, if you are using Co-cyprindiol for contraceptive purposes, then you may notice a withdrawal bleed similar to a standard period. You will need to take Co-cyprindiol at the same time every day to ensure that you get the most benefit out of this substance. If you forget to take your medication, then you may not be protected against pregnancy.  

What are the side effects of Co-cyprindiol? 

Co-cyprindiol is a widely well-tolerated medication. However, like any substance available for the treatment of medical conditions, this drug can sometimes cause unintended side effects. If you are concerned about side effects, you can read through the full list of potential reactions to Co-cyprindiol included with your patient leaflet.  

Usually, your response to Co-cyprindiol will improve as your body gets used to the change in hormones. You may find however, that your conditions get worse or persist. In that case, you should seek extra advice from a doctor. Common side effects of Co-cyprindiol include: 

  • Feeling sick or nausea; 
  • Stomach pain; 
  • Trouble eating certain foods; 
  • Headaches or migraines; 
  • Breast tenderness; 
  • Increased weight
  • Mood changes. 

If you find any of these side effects troublesome or worrying, you can seek advice from your doctor about whether Co-cyprindiol is the right treatment for you.  

In some circumstances, Co-cyprindiol may cause more severe side effects, although these are not common. If you experience symptoms that affect your chest, like sudden breathlessness or severe chest pain, you should seek emergency help immediately. This could be a sign that you are having a clot in your lungs. You should also be aware of other signs of clots, such as swelling or pain in your leg. 

Get help if you notice an unusually painful headache that causes you to lose your hearing or sight. Additionally, contact a doctor if you notice yellowing in the whites of your eyes or your skin, have a bad fainting attack, or experience numbness on one side of your body. Do not continue taking Co-cyprindiol if you have trouble swallowing, or you think that you may be having an allergic reaction to this medication.  

When shouldn’t you use Co-cyprindiol? 

Not everyone will respond well to Co-cyprindiol. Some people will be more likely to suffer from serious side effects than others. This is why it is important to make sure that you tell your consultant about your medical history. For instance, you should not take Co-cyprindiol if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. It may be worth telling your consultant about other substances that you are allergic to, just in case.  

Co-cyprindiol should not be taken or should be taken with extra care if you have ever had a problem with blood clots. You should not take this medication if you have gallstones or issues with the way that your liver works. Additionally, your doctor may recommend using a different medication if you have high levels of fat in your blood, or you have ever had a breast lump or breast cancer.  

If you have been diagnosed with depression in the past, then you might find that this medication is not suitable for you. Additionally, Co-cyprindiol should be prescribed with extra caution for people with the following conditions: 

  • Migraines; 
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus; 
  • Porphyria; 
  • Sickle cell disease; 
  • Inflammatory bowel conditions; 
  • Transient ischemic attacks. 

It is not a good idea to take this medication if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are planning on getting pregnant and your doctor or consultant prescribes Co-cyprindiol for you, then you should let them know about your plans as quickly as possible.  

Does Co-cyprindiol interact with other medications? 

When having a consultation with one of our professionals, it’s important that you are honest about all other medications that you may be taking, including over the counter pills that you have purchased yourself, and pills prescribed by your doctor. Some medications can cause Co-cyprindiol to be less effective at treating various conditions and preventing pregnancy.  

Listed below are some example of medication that interacts with  Co-cyprindiol and blocks its effect: 

  • Griseofulvin (antifungal) 
  • Carbamazepine, phenytoin, and primidone (as well as other antiepileptic medications) 
  • Medicines for HIV like nevirapine or cobicistat 
  • Modafinil for narcolepsy 
  • Rifampicin and rifabutin for TB 
  • St John’s Wort 

If you are given a short course of any of the medications above, then your doctor will recommend using another form of contraception while you are using this medication. Co-cyprindiol will not be recommended to be taken with some medications in particular, such as the antiepileptic medication, Lamotrigine.  

Where can you buy Co-cyprindiol? 

Co-cyprindiol is available to purchase from pharmacies online and offline after you have had a full consultation with a professionalm, your recent blood pressure will need to be known. You will need to have a prescription sent to a local pharmacy on your behalf after speaking with a consultant about your condition.  

Can I get Co-cyprindiol without a prescription? 

We can get a prescription sent to a local pharmacy for you for Co-cyprindiol within three working days. However, you will not be able to purchase Co-cyprindiol without a prescription. A professional will need to determine whether this medication is right for you.  

Sources 

BNF. Nice, online, 2019, “CO-CYPRINDIOL” [Accessed 18th of December 2019], Available on: https://bnf.nice.org.uk/drug/co-cyprindiol.html 

Medicines.org online, 2019, “Co-cyprindiol 2000/35 Tablets”, [Accessed 18th of December 2019], Available on: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/7236/smpc 

Mims.co.uk, online, 2019, “Co-cyprindiol”[Accessed 18th of December 2019], Available on: https://www.mims.co.uk/drugs/skin/acne-rosacea/co-cyprindiol 

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.