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Desogestrel is a type of progestetrone used to prevent pregnancy especially in women not able to tolerate estrogens or are breast feeding.

How it works

Desogestrel is a type of the progestogen, a female sex hormone, and acts by preventing the egg cell from ripening.

Common side effects

Nausea, Ovarian cysts, Pain, Skin lump, Acne, Breast pain, Abnormal milky discharge from breast, Breast secretion, Decreased libido, Difficulty in wearing contact lense, Pain during periods, Hair loss, Headache, Absence of menstrual periods, Irregular menstrual cycle, Mood changes, Urticaria, Vaginal infection, Vomiting, Fatigue, Weight gain


Expert advice

  • Don’t start with just any tablet when starting a new pack of desogestrel. Always take it from the top row marked for that day.
  • If you are not using hormonal contraception at present (or in the past month) take your first pack of desogestrel on the first day of your period.
  • If you are changing from a combined pill (COC), vaginal ring, or transdermal patch start desogestrel at the latest the day following any break free period or on the day itself if you had no break free period. Use an additional barrier method of contraception for the first 7 days of tablet-taking if you had a break free period.
  • You can start desogestrel, between 21 to 28 days after the birth of your baby. If you start later, you need to use an additional barrier method of contraception until first 7 days of tablet-taking.
  • If you are less than 12 hours late in taking your next dose or if you vomit, or use medical charcoal within 3 - 4 hours or have severe diarrhea, take the missed tablet as soon as you remember and take the next one at the usual time. If you are more than 12 hours late, you may need to use emergency contraception as per doctor’s advice.
  • Don’t miss one or more tablets in the very first week of tablet-intake and had intercourse in the week before missing the tablets, you may fall pregnant.
  • Do not take desogestrel, if you are allergic to desogestrel or any of the ingredients of this medicine.
  • Avoid taking desogestrel, if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
  • Do not take desogestrel, if you have a thrombosis (blood clot in a blood vessel); (e.g. of the legs [deep venous thrombosis] or the lungs [pulmonary embolism]); or any unexplained vaginal bleeding.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is desogestrel androgenic/a progestin/ a combined pill?
Desogestrel is a new, potent progestogen with very low androgenic properties. It is not a combined pill; it is a progestogen-only-pill.
Q. How does desogestrel work/ stop ovulation?
Desogestrel as a contraceptive, acts by preventing the egg cell from ripening and thus stops ovulation.
Q. Is desogestrel safe/ dangerous/cause weight gain/ stop periods/ cause hair loss/ cause blood clots?
Desogestrel is safe in most women, if taken strictly at recommended dosage and duration. Common side effects of desogestrel include: weight gain, irregular or no periods, hair loss. Blood clot is a rare side effect of desogestrel.
Q. Is desogestrel good for acne/help acne/cause acne?
Acne is a common side effect of desogestrel.
Q. What is desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol/does desogestrel contain estrogen/ how does desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol work?
Desogestrel/ethinyl estradiol is a combination progesterone and estrogen birth control pill. It works by preventing ovulation, change the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg and change the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
Q. Is desogestrel the same as cerazette/ same as feanolla?
Cerazette and feanolla are brand names for desogestrel.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)