The desogestrel pill is a type of progesterone-only hormonal contraceptive, or “mini pill” as they’re sometimes known. Desogestrel is a synthetic form of progesterone, a hormone that naturally occurs in the female body that assists with regulating menstrual cycles and preparing the body for pregnancy. However, when used as contraception, it can prevent you from becoming pregnant by the way it works in the body.
Desogestrel works by thickening the cervical mucus so that it becomes difficult for sperm to get through it, and it can also prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg, meaning that even if any sperm did get through your cervical mucus, there’d be nothing there for them to fertilise.
Desogestrel and other mini pills are popular with people who aren’t able to take oestrogen, such as those who are:
- Over 35 and a smoker
- Very overweight
- Taking certain medications
- Diagnosed with certain medical conditions such as migraines with aura, or blood circulation problems
If you’ve been told that you’re unable to take oestrogen, and therefore the combined contraceptive pill, desogestrel may be a suitable option for you as it only contains a progestogen.
Although desogestrel is usually safe for women that can’t take oestrogen, it might not be safe for other people with certain health conditions, or those that are taking certain medications that are known to interact with desogestrel.
If you have any of the following health problems, you should avoid taking desogestrel and talk to your GP about alternative options that might be available for you:
- Allergy to desogestrel
- Thrombosis, now or in the past
- History of cancer that is sensitive to hormones
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- History of breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- High blood pressure
Taking desogestrel if you have any of the above health problems can be dangerous, and should be avoided unless your own GP has advised you otherwise. In addition to this, if you take any of the following medicines, you should also avoid desogestrel until you’ve spoken to your own doctor, as some of these treatments have been known to interact with desogestrel in potentially dangerous ways:
Some epilepsy medications
Some HIV treatments
St John’s Wort
Mini pills are forms of hormonal contraception which only contain a type of progesterone, rather than being combined with oestrogen. They’re popular due to the fact that they can be taken by most women, and because they’re taken every day without any breaks between packs. This makes it easier to get into a routine and not forget any tablets.
Most mini pills are around 99% effective when used correctly, but with typical use (how most women usually take them), they’re around 92% effective. Because of this, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the patient information leaflet and try to adhere to the instructions as much as possible to maximise the effectiveness of the mini pill. In addition to this, you may also want to use barrier methods such as condoms or diaphragms to make your contraceptive method even more effective against pregnancy.
Although the name “mini pill” suggests that the tablet is smaller in size than combined pills, this usually isn’t the case, and most progesterone-only tablets are the same size as their combined counterparts. The “mini” simply refers to the fact that it only contains one type of hormone.
You can buy the mini pill online from Doctor4U after completing some consultation questions from our doctors. You will need to have been on your current mini pill for at least a year with no issues before you order online. This is for patient safety reasons and to make sure that your contraception is suitable for you.
Desogestrel is the name of the progestogen that’s used in many contraceptive pills, but it’s often better known by the some of the branded versions of the mini pill, such as:
We have a range of desogestrel brands available at Doctor4U, including most of the ones mentioned above. In addition to these, generic desogestrel is also available. This means that you’re buying a tablet that contains the same active ingredient as the branded versions, but without the name. When you buy the generic form of desogestrel, the manufacturer may vary each time you buy, but you’ll still receive the same dosage of the same medication.
Most forms of desogestrel-only pills come in a 75mcg strength, which is usually enough to protect most women against pregnancy by preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus.
Desogestrel side effects
Although desogestrel is well tolerated by most women that take it, it’s still a hormonal medication that affects the body, so it can cause side effects. Side effects caused by desogestrel are usually only mild or bearable, but you should still be aware of them in case any of these symptoms become bothersome and you need to change your contraception method.
Some of the desogestrel side effects outlined in the patient information leaflet include:
Lack of periods
Infection of the vagina
Difficulty with contact lenses
If you find that you experience any of these side effects to a bothersome degree, you should speak to your doctor about them who may suggest trying out a different form of contraception.
In addition to the side effects listed above, it’s important to know that wish most forms of hormonal contraception, your risk of breast cancer is slightly increased. Because of this, it’s especially important to regularly check your own breasts for lumps, and to report any changes to your GP. It’s best to check them at around the same time every month so that hormonal fluctuations are minimised.
Hormonal contraceptive pills can also increase your risk of thrombosis, which is a blood clot in a vein. It’s important to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of various types of thrombosis so that you’ll be more likely to spot one early if it happens to you. If it does, you should seek urgent medical help.
As mood changes and depressed mood are listed as side effects, it’s important to take care of your mental wellbeing, especially whilst taking desogestrel. If you notice any change in your mood, you should report it to your GP who may wish to monitor you. Low mood and depression can sometimes cause thoughts of suicide, so it’s important to speak to a doctor that you trust as soon as you notice that your moods are changing. If your mental health suffers as a result of taking desogestrel, your GP may recommend a different method of contraception.
Will desogestrel stop my periods?
Because desogestrel can alter the hormone levels in your body in order to protect you against pregnancy, it can also interfere with your menstrual cycle. Some people that take the desogestrel mini pill experience abnormal periods, such as bleeding that wouldn’t fir their natural cycle, and some women even experience a complete absence of periods (amenorrhoea) whilst taking desogestrel. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing how the pill is going to affect you until you start taking it, and some women find that their cycle regulates after around 12 weeks of being on contraception. However, if you find that your cycle is abnormal for you and it bothers you, you should speak to your GP about alternative methods that may be available, or for advice on whether or not it’s normal whilst taking the mini pill.
Because desogestrel can affect menstrual cycles in many different ways, it also isn’t guaranteed to stop your periods, so you shouldn’t start taking the pill for this reason. If you’d like to delay your period, there are options available for you such as norethisterone, but you should speak to your doctor for advice first.
How to take desogestrel
Desogestrel and other mini pills are unlike the combined contraceptive pill, because you don’t take a 7-day break in between packs – you just take one tablet each day.
If you start taking desogestrel on days 1-5 of your menstrual cycle, you should be protected from pregnancy straight away, as this is your least fertile time. The first day of your menstrual cycle is the day that your period starts. If you start taking the mini pill on any other day of your cycle, you should use additional contraceptive methods for 2 days until desogestrel can protect you on its own.
You should always take your mini pill at the same time each day. Most progesterone-only pills may not be effective if they’re taken more than three hours late, but with desogestrel, you have up to 12 hours to take a forgotten pill until the effectiveness wears off. If it’s been more than 12 hours since the dose was due, take the forgotten pill straight away and then continue your pack as normal the next day. You will need to use condoms, other barrier methods, or even abstain from sex for 2 days to make sure that you’re still protected against pregnancy.
Desogestrel pills are generally quite small in size, so are easy to swallow with a glass of water. You don’t need to take it with food, but if you find that it helps you to get into a routine by taking your pill with a meal, it won’t do any harm. If you can find anything at all that helps you to get into a routine such as setting alarms, you should do it, as taking the pill at the same time each day maximises the effectiveness and helps you to remember it more often.
Contraception is free on the NHS, which includes mini pills and desogestrel. However, you may not always be guaranteed the same brand, so if you’re looking specifically for a branded version of desogestrel, you may have to buy it privately online from reputable websites such as Doctor4U.
All people that need contraception will be given it for free on the NHS. However, some people may prefer to pay privately for a prescription instead.
If you decide to buy desogestrel, you can choose from the generic form or several different desogestrel brands at Doctor4U. With us, you’re guaranteed a confidential and convenient service, with all treatments being shipped in plain, unbranded and sturdy packaging.
You can buy desogestrel from Doctor4U if you reside within the UK. Please note that we are not able to provide medication to people living overseas.
Buy contraceptive pill
Most types of contraceptive pill are available to buy on Doctor4U, so whichever brand you’re used to taking, it’s likely that we have it in stock unless it’s been discontinued or if there’s a manufacturing error.
Buying the contraceptive pill online is fast, safe and simple with Doctor4U. All you need to do is complete some consultation questions about contraception, choose your treatment, and then answer a few more short questions about the medicine you’ve selected. This consultation then gets sent over to one of our doctors who will review it to see whether it’s safe for you based on your answers. If your order is approved, a digital prescription will be generated and sent to our partner pharmacy where it will be dispensed directly to your door.