Progesterone only pill – a guide to the different brands

progesterone only pill brands
With so many different types to choose from, it begs the questions - what are the difference between the progesterone only bill brands?

The progesterone only pill (also known as the mini pill or POP) is a form of contraceptive, often used by women who can’t tolerate oestrogen. Designed to be taken at the same time every day, the progesterone only pill is one of the more popular contraceptives with common brands including Cerelle, Cerazette, Norgeston and Noriday. With so many different types to choose from, it begs the questions – what are the difference between the progesterone only bill brands?

There are 2 different types of progestogen only pill:

  • 3-hour progestogen only pill (traditional mini pill) – must be taken within 3 hours of the same time each day.
  • 12-hour progestogen only pill (desogestrel progestogen only pill) – must be taken within 12 hours of the same time each day

Progesterone only pill brand names

Cerelle

Cerelle is one of the mini pills that contains desogestrel, whilst also having a high enough dose to prevent the egg cell from ripening. Therefore, the Cerelle mini pill provides high contraceptive efficacy. This progesterone only pill is an excellent option for women who do not tolerate oestrogens and by women who are breast-feeding. A disadvantage is that spotting may occur at irregular intervals with the use of Cerelle mini pill. 

Cerelle side effects

  • Mood swings
  • Decreased sexual drive (libido)
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular or no periods
  • Weight gain

Cerazette

Similar to Cerelle, Cerazette is a form of progesterone only pill where the main ingredient is desogestrel. Unlike other mini pills without desogestrel, Cerazette has a 12 hour window in which it can be taken to still provide pregnancy protection. Whilst it’s a good contraceptive option for women over 35 who smoke, our reviews state that many of our community experienced weight gain and had a reduction in their sex drive.   

Cerazette side effects

  • Mood swings
  • Decreased sexual drive (libido)
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular bleeding or no period
  • Weight gain

Desogestrel

Desogestrel is the progesterone only pill sold under the brand names Cerazette and Mircette. As well as a contraception, it is also used to treat menopausal symptoms for women. As listed above, the common side effects of Desogestrel include acne and weight gain.

Norgeston

Like other mini pills, Norgeston is taken back to back without a break, and most importantly it needs to be taken every day at the same time (within a three hour window). If taken correctly Norgeston is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. 

Norgeston side effects

  • Bleeding and spotting between your periods or no periods
  • Allergic reactions including wheezing, rash or reddened skin
  • Depressive moods
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Putting on weight or losing weight

Noriday

The Noriday pill is a great choice of contraceptive for women over the age of 35 or for smokers. As with other progesterone only pills it is also a good option for women who are breastfeeding as it doesn’t contain oestrogen which can affect the quality of breast milk. 

Noriday side effects

  • Dizziness, tiredness or nervousness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Gastric or stomach discomforts including abdominal pain, cramps, nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or bleeding after intercourse
  • Break-through bleeding
  • Spotting
  • Change in menstrual flow or absence of periods 
  • Discharge, itching or pain in the vaginal area
  • Breast changes (pain, tenderness, enlargement or secretions)
  • Weight gain

Zelleta

The Zelleta pill only contains desogestrel and therefore is suitable for women who are breastfeeding and may also stop ovulation. It may also help with pre-menstrual pain or period cramps.

Zelleta side effects

  • Mood changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Breast pain
  • Irregular periods
  • No periods
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal infections

For more information, side effects and advantages/disadvantages on other progesterone only pills including Aizea, Desomono, Desorex, Micronor and Nacrez then check out their pages here on The Lowdown where our community reviewers will give you the ins and outs of each. 

You can also read more about contraceptive pills in our guide to the different types of the combined pill.

This guide was brought to you by The Lowdown. We are the world’s first contraception review platform, providing real-life experiences from thousands of reviews collected from our community of men and women.

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