The combined pill – your guide to the different brands

A detailed guide from Cilest to Yasmin, and everything in-between

The combined pill contains artificial versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are produced naturally in the ovaries.

If sperm reaches an egg (ovum), pregnancy can happen. The contraceptive pill tries to prevent this happening usually by keeping the egg and sperm apart or by stopping the release of an egg (ovulation).

The combined pill prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg each month (ovulation). It also:

  • Thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb, so it is harder for sperm to penetrate the womb and reach an egg
  • Thins the lining of the womb, so there is less chance of a fertilised egg implanting into the womb and being able to grow

But with over 30 brands of the combined pill to choose from, what is the difference and which is right for you?

Read on to discover the ingredients, side effects of the pill and read real-life reviews for the most popular brands available today.

Cilest Pill

What’s in Cilest?

This low-dose combined pill contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Cilest side effects

Side effects of Cilest that are very common (effect more than 1 in 10 people) include:

  • Headache (but if severe, unusual or long lasting, see a doctor as soon as possible)
  • Stomach problems, such as feeling sick (nausea)
  • Bbeing sick (vomiting) and diarrhoea
  • Painful or abnormal periods including bleeding and spotting between periods

Common (effect more than 1 in 100 people):

  • Migraine
  • Feeling dizzy or weak
  • Weight gain
  • Depression or mood changes
  • Feeling nervous or difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Gynecological problems
  • Vaginal infections or discharge from the vagina
  • No periods
  • Urinary tract infection which causes pain or a burning feeling when passing water or the need to pass water more often
  • Tender breasts
  • Stomach problems
  • Skin problems such as acne and rash
  • Muscle spasms, pain in the hands, arms, legs or back

Femodene Pill

What’s in Femodene?

This contraceptive pill contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Femodene side effects

Side effects of Femodene that are common:

  • Feeling sick or stomach ache
  • Putting on weight
  • Headaches
  • Depressive moods or mood swings
  • Sore or painful breasts

Femodette Pill

What’s in Femodette?

This combined pill contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Femodette side effects

Side effects of the pill that are common:

  • Feeling sick or stomach ache
  • Putting on weight
  • Headaches
  • Depressive moods
  • Mood swings
  • Sore or painful breasts

Gedarel Pill

What’s in Gedarel?

Gedarel is a COC, also called the pill. There are two strengths, Gedarel 20/150 and Gedarel 30/150. It contains two types of female hormones, a progestogen, desogestrel and an oestrogen, ethinylestradiol in a low dose.

Gedarel side effects

Side effects of Gedarel that are common:

  • Bleeding irregularly
  • Depression or mood alterations
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or nervousness
  • Nausea or abdominal pain
  • Acne
  • Tender breasts
  • Absence of menstruation or painful menstruation
  • Pre-menstrual syndrome (physical and emotional problems before the start of menstruation)
  • Weight gain

Levest Pill

What’s in Levest?

Levest coated tablets are a combined oral contraceptive and belong to a group of products often referred to as “the Pill”. Levest contains two hormones: oestrogen (Ethinylestradiol) and progestogen (Levonorgestrel).

Levest side effects

The effects of Levest that are common (may affect 1 in 10 people) include:

  • Stomach ache
  • Putting on weight
  • Headaches depressive moods or mood swings
  • Sore or painful breasts feeling sick

Loestrin

(Loestrin 30 and Loestrin 20 discontinued)

What’s in the Loestrin pill?

This combination hormone medication is used to prevent pregnancy and is a low-dose pill often used by women who experience side effects of the pill or older women who don’t want to use the progesterone only pill. It contains two hormones, a progestin and an estrogen. However, both Loestrin 20 and Loestrin 30 are no longer manufactured and there is still currently no direct alternative available in the UK.

Loestrin side effects

Side effects of Loestrin that are common:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Bloating 
  • Breast tenderness
  • Swelling of the ankles/feet (fluid retention),
  • Weight change
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods (spotting) or missed/irregular periods 

Lucette Pill

What’s in Lucette?

Each pill contains a small amount of different female hormones, namely ethinylestradiol and drospirenone.

Lucette side effects

Side effects of Lucette that are common:

  • Menstural disorders
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Breast pain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Migraine
  • Headache
  • Depressive mood
  • Nausea
  • Thick, whitish vaginal discharge, vaginal yeast infection

Maexeni Pill

What’s in Maexeni?

This contraceptive contains two types of female sex hormones, namely ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel.

Maexeni side effects

Side effects of Maexeni that are common:

  • Feeling sick
  • Stomach ache
  •  Putting on weight
  • Headaches
  • Depressive moods or mood swings
  • Sore or painful breasts

Marvelon Pill

What’s in Marvelon?

This low-dose contraceptive pill contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Marvelon side effects

Side effects of Marvelon that are common:

  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Breast problems such as painful or tender breasts
  • Depression or mood changes
  • Stomach problems, such as nausea or abdominal pain

Check out Marvelon reviews on our website.

Mercilon Pill

What’s in Mercilon?

This low-dose contraceptive pill contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Mercilon side effects

Side effects of Mercilon that are common:

  • Headache
  • Weight gain
  • Breast problems such as painful or tender breasts
  • Depression or mood changes
  • Stomach problems, such as nausea or abdominal pain

Microgynon 30 Pill

What’s in Microgynon?

This popular combined pill is one of the most commonly used pills in the UK and is often a starting pill for most women. It contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Microgynon side effects

Side effects of the Microgynon pill that are common:

  • Feeling sick or stomach ache
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Depressive moods or mood swings
  • Sore or painful breasts

If you’re on Microgynon and you miss a pill, read what to do here. You can also read real-life Microgynon reviews on our website.

Millinete Pill

What’s in Millinete?

Contains two types of hormone: anoestrogen, ethinylestradiol and a progestogen, gestodene. There are two strengths of Millinete:

  • Millinette 30/75 (30 micrograms ethinylestradiol, 75 micrograms gestodene)
  • Millinette 20/75 (20 micrograms ethinylestradiol, 75 micrograms gestodene)

Millinete side effects

Side effects of Millinete that are common:

  • Headcaches
  • Irregular bleeding and spotting between periods
  • Vaginitis, fungal infection of vagina
  • Mood altered including depression
  • Nervousness, dizziness
  • Nausea or upper abdomainal pain
  • Acne
  • Painful or absence of menustration
  • Changes in vaginal secretion
  • Weight gain
  • Breast swelling, pain or discharge

Ovranette Pill

What’s in Ovranette?

This contraceptive contains two types of female sex hormones, oestrogen and progestogen.

Your doctor may also prescribe Ovranette for some other conditions such as: painful menstruation (dysmenorrhea) or pre-menstrual tension. endometriosis, heavy or irregular bleeding from the womb (uterus).

Ovranette side effects

Side effects of Ovranette that are very common:

  • Headaches including migraines  
  • Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
  • Infections of the vagina including thrush
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Weight gain
  • Change in mood including depression or low mood
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Change in sex drive
  • Acne
  • Sore, painful or tender breasts
  • Changes in the secretion from the breast, enlargement of breasts

Rigevidon Pill

What’s in Rigevidon?

The popular contraceptive pill Rigevidon contains two types of hormone: anoestrogen, ethinylestradiol and a progestogen, levonorgestrel in a low dose.

Rigevidon side effects

Side effects of Rigevidon that are common:

  • Vaginitis, including vaginal candidiasis, mood swings, including depression
  • Altered sex desire
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling sick or being sick
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acne
  • Breast pain, enlargement and discharge
  • Painful period or irregular bleeding/no bleeding
  • Abnormality of cervix
  • Change in cervical ectopion and vaginal secretion
  • Fluid/retention/edema
  • Changes in weight

Rigevidon is said by users to cause weight gain and acne. Check out Rigevidon reviews from Lowdown users.

Yasmin Pill

What’s in Yasmin?

Yasmin is another popular combined pill that is often prescribed for women that suffer from heavy or irregular periods. Each light yellow tablet contains a small amount of two different female hormones, namely drospirenone and ethinylestradiol.

Yasmin side effects

Side effects of Yasmin that are common (between 1 and 10 in every 100 users may be affected):

  • Depressive mood
  • Headache or migraine
  • Nausea
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Thick whitish vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal yeast infection

For more information, ingredients and side effects on the combined pills, including Cimizt, Katya 30/75, Lizinna, Microgynon ED Tablets, Norimin, Norimin 1, Ovranette, Ovsymen and Sunya 20/75, check out The Lowdown’s reviews on them where our community share their real-life experiences.

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

Why not leave us a review of your contraceptive experience? Whether you’ve got good things to say about the Mirena coil or had trouble with implant removal, we want to hear about it! Tell us about your experience and help people around the world find the right method for them.