When penny saving is bad – contraceptive tablets 71

Dear doctors/NHS/PCT or whoever thanks for swapping my tablets. Thanks very much for not explaining why. Thanks even more for not even mentioning it and causing me to panic thinking it must be a mistake, maybe my dyslexic handwriting was to blame on the repeat prescription request? What on earth is this medicine written on my repeat prescription? It’s certainly not an actual repeat!

Male readers be warned, period talk!

Cerazette and Cerelle

My tablets

I take contraception as bleeding control. I bleed at random times and for prolonged *periods* of time. My periods are two weeks to about three months apart, I can’t guess when, I can’t plan things – I never know when it’s going to be a bad time. This would be unpleasant for any woman I’m sure.
But for me, with an extreme phobia due to nearly dying of erm, female bleeding issues, it’s pretty hellish. I’ve been on Cerazette for 4 years. Shortly before being put on these I bleed so badly I was taken to hospital in blood stained clothing. Staff believed I was having a miscarriage and kept doing/asking various things relating to that. I wasn’t pregnant – my body really is that wrong.

I’ve been happily taking Cerazette since then, with no dangerous bleedings. I still get periods, which baffles the nurses at our surgery as apparently it’s not normal at all. When my periods hit they last 3 weeks on average with ten days being a short period. Back to my phobia…. A few days of bleeding is hard enough, but a few weeks? And heavy flow? It’s torture!

This week I went to collect my repeat prescription paper and it said Cerelle. I went back to the receptionist, who wasn’t very helpful when I’m panicking. She says “oh it’s probably the same” no Dear, I need more than that. I need to know and be sure it’s the same. She starts phoning people. I wanted a doctor… Over came a nurse. “Oh it’s just the new name for cerazette.” she says. I don’t feel convinced, she doesn’t look convinced. I feel nervous, frightened, sick and shakey inside.

Cloth Menstrual Pad with Wings

Cloth Menstrual Pad with Wings (Photo credit: henna lion)

I leave the doctors after they refuse to cross off Cerelle and write Cerazette on my paper. I leave trying not to cry. In the chemists I ask questions. It’s not a new name for it. It’s an entirely different brand, which he informs me is cheaper for my doctors surgery. Similar ingredients though, and same strengths.

Tonight I ran out of my normal tablets and had to take the new ones. Which meant I had to read the instruction leaflet… Which causes me psychosomatic pain and symptoms of all the side effects. I read a few lines and couldn’t cope so I woke Blokey up to read it – reminding him he cannot read it out loud. He read both the old and new leaflets and assures me it is the same dose, same chemicals, same side effects, same everything except name and brands.

Yet within minutes of taking the money saving pill I feel panicky. My stomach hurts in a pre period way… I can feel dampness and leaking that’s not really occurring. Flashback pain to post labour bleeding. The root of my PTSD that my doctors don’t acknowledge but my psychotherapist does. I know the stomach and “lady parts” pain is just in my head, my mind makes it real, but jeez my mind is a great actor.

All to save a few pence? And this was collected the very same day doctor Dave (my psychotherapist) and I did a therapy session just regarding the “trauma” surrounding the labour and the next few months of feeling like I would die of bleeding if I moved.

I’d love to know, dear doctors, what is my suffering worth? How much does it save? Are you happy to be hindering my mental recovery for a quid or two?
I begged the chemist to give me the old ones, I said I’d buy them but he can’t as the penny pinching mean doctor thinks its ok to change a patients medicine. Without even informing the patient. If it had just been explained!

This post has been one of my top posts for 3 years now, please please consult a doctor if the situation above is similar to your own. I am not a medical professional, I’m just a ranty Mum with a blog.

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71 thoughts on “When penny saving is bad – contraceptive tablets

  • Claire

    What a pain! All for a few pennies. Danny is on loads of medication and they change one of his tablets which he needs halved into teeny ones sometimes that just can’t be halved. It takes hours of sorting to ask either for 1/2 dose tablets or to get the bigger ones that I can break by hand (bliss) or at least cut without shattering. As with you, they can’t give.

    What a shame they wouldn’t let you pay for them in short term… are you ok taking new ones now?



    • JulieRoo Post author

      I’m taking them yes. But if they looked at my medical notes properly I’m sure they must have known this would cause me panic attacks.

      Gawd that’s bad with them swapping Danny’s tablets to the wrong dose. How stupid. :-/

      • Selena

        Hi JulieRoo

        Ive been taking Carelle for 5 months but started to feel unwell around 2 months ago. Cramp in throat, headaches, shortness of breath. I recently have been having panic attacks. I have even having woken having a panic attack and didn’t understand why? Until, I saw this post I hadn’t connected carelle with the stress and attacks. I will be going to the Drs ASAP as im having them nearly everyday for the last two weeks, and as I mentioned even whilst sleeping.

  • Lauranne

    It gets me so mad. My periods get so awful that I pass out from the pain, not ever month but I have been lying on the floor in the middle of the office at work out of my head not caring who saw, throwing up…. the doctors advice was to give me some pills that would make everything worse but would cover me for contraception. I pointed out that i wasn’t at that time having sex and so kinda had the contraception bit covered but they refused to listen. I switched to homeopathy and it is the only thing that has worked – don’t know if you’ve thought about or tried it but it may help!

      • Lauranne

        I am assuming you have, but have you tried homeopathy? I have polytheistic ovaries and have been so ill from periods that I pass out from the pain (brilliant when it happens at work!) The only thing that helped me was homeopathy. Just a (rather late) thought

  • Gemma Clark

    I too was put on Cerezatte for excessive and prolonged bleeding and unexplained pelvic pain. They changed mine to Cerelle and after extensive research and a chat with my lovely pharmacist I am now convinced it is the same ingredient in exactly the same dose. Different pharmaceutical companies are allowed to make it and they all have different prices. Guess this is just the cheapest one! I can sympathise though as I get the panic adn the anxiety. This all started from a post partum hemorrhage 8 years ago for me. It’s tough isn’t it 🙁

    • JulieRoo Post author

      Same! PPH here too. When my 11 year old was born I was told I could be “dead by the morning” from it. Recovered *but* lost my sanity when I had my 5year old, bad bleeding but not as dangerous, sadly since then my periods have been broken.

  • Georgie

    My doctor has prescribed me this as I have pcos she wants me to try it to help with my symptoms but after reading up on cerelle I’m starting to wonder if I should take it. I have had panic and anxiety problems in the past, also I am prone to migraines. Also I have suffered many years with bad skin and one of the common side effects is acne. At present my periods are quite normal. From what people have said this have altered their periods. Has anyone got any advice please? Thank you

    • JulieRoo Post author

      Hi there Georgie. I am afraid my advice is going to have to be talk to doctors, or gynie specialists as I am in no way an expert. But in my personal experience now I am ok with Cerrelle as I’ve become used to it, but the bleeding is still unpredictable and heavy. I am sorry I can’t help you very much.

  • Emma

    HI, i too have had concerns about the switch I am being forced to make to Cerelle from Cerazette. I have been on Cerazette for 10 years with absolutely no problems, I have no periods and previously had many migraines and headaches. You can buy Cerazette online from lloyds pharmacy £40 for 6months supply however i thought to myself before i take that step id do some research to see if it really is the same, in which case id give it a try. Here is what i found…

    CERELLE Tablet core:
    Lactose monohydrate,
    Potato starch,
    Silica, colloidal anhydrous,
    Stearic acid,

    Silica, colloidal anhydrous
    Lactose monohydrate
    Maize starch
    Stearic acid.

    It seems the only difference between the tablets is the use of potato starch instead of maize starch. After discovering this in two weeks when my Cerazette runs out I will happily give the Cerelle a chance.

    Hope this helps 🙂

      • Emma

        Glad you found it helpful, forgot to also put that obviously they are both also 75 microgram film-coated tablet desogestrel. Good luck with your “Detox”…atleast you know that even without your doctors support you can get your hands on Cerazette and I think Lloyds also do a same day service aswell, that in itself I know is reasuring!

        I will let you know how i get on with the Cerelle when I start, hopefully I wont notice any changes and there will be nothing to report!

    • Michelle Smith

      I have been switched from Cerezette to Desogestrel and my daughter from Cerelle to Desogestrel.
      The ingredients in Desogestrel are:
      What Desogestrel contains

      The active substance is desogestrel (75 microgram).

      The other ingredients are: lactose monohydrate, maize starch, povidone K30 (E1201), d-α-tocopherol (E307), soybean oil, silica, colloidal hydrated (E551), silica, colloidal anhydrous (E551), stearic acid (E570), hypromellose 2910 (E464), polyethylene glycol, titanium dioxide (E171) (see also “Desogestrel contains lactose and soybean oil” in section 2).

      I am now concerned as this seems to have lots more Ingredients compared to the others.

  • Lola

    I hate cereals, after 2 weeks I’ve been on my period for 10 days, had mood swings and spots all over my fave (never had this problem before and I’m 26!)
    I was taking cerazette for 6 years with no problems, I will be going back to my doctors to complain in a few days!!! I refuse to take these any more!

  • Cheryl

    I just found this post and noticed it was the most recent regarding cerelle. I have been taking cerelle since May when I was switched over from cerazette, ive had problems ever since… I bleed every day for the first few months which now seems to have stopped although now and again I’ll have to wear liners because of a strange random discharge! I suffer random cramps even when I have no period, those are not often though maybe every few weeks. The worst effects are mentally, I feel anxious with irrational thinking, over thinking, irritable but also the headaches!! I have one atleast every few weeks that last 2 or 3 days. I know there are major cutbacks in the nhs but God having to go through this and only having like 3/4 days when I feel completely me and the rest of the time suffering from atleast one side effect from this pill. Can anyone else share their side effects too? I have read up on some other forums but they all seem fairly old.

    • Julie Martin Post author

      Hiya Cheryl, I had to completely stop taking contraceptive tablets because of this. Now my cycle is “normal”. Sorry this post is old. My advice is come off of them completely and within about 3 months you are fine again. Obviously this means you are unprotected, so I suggest a chat with your doctors. Most female options involve hormones, the same ones that are screwing with your body in the pill. Condoms are a great temporary solution, while you see if ditching the pills makes you better. If it does, then the best thing might be asking your partner to get “the snip” if it’s a long term relationship. But this is not without other issues.
      Good luck Cheryl.

    • Caroline McMillan

      Hi Cheryl, similar issues to you as swapped from cerezette to cerelle. Going back to the docs ok Tuesday. Have you now been changed to a new one? Feel I’m going mad and having a two week period which is what I’m going through now is making me so fed up :-((

  • Nichola

    I have had same issue collected my repeat prescription and it’s cerelle….not my usual. Cerazette….I’m totally flipping. …due to a bad ongoing abrasion on my cervix n 3 Month of bleeding and having laser I was told 2 yrs ago Cerazette was the only pill I could take and my meds been changed without even consulting me…..I’m due to start new pack bit I don’t want to use them incase they don’t work or cause me the awful side effects

    Don’t know what to do lol

    • Julie Martin Post author

      Hello Nichola,

      It seems the tablets are very similar, and for a lot of people the change from one to another seems to make no difference. I really suggest talking to your doctors in person, or phone them if you can’t make it to see them soon. They might make an exception if you are that concerned, or they might say Cerelle will suit you fine. Either way I’m not a doctor, sorry I am not much help.

  • Jomana

    Advice from a person who a bad experiences with doctors . my mom was sick “some disease in her kidney”
    and when we go to doctors , every doctor say some thing from other and every time the new doctor say stop the last medicine of the doctor and no one of all them discover the disease with her . they just want to the money ,that all what they care about. we are patients are just case number in doctor mind.
    so advice don’t listen to doctors

  • Sam T

    Sorry this is super late but just seen this post. I was on cerezette, for a few years, it’s stopped my periods, worked PERFECTLY! I loved it, then the Dr started prescribing me cerelle, obviously as it’s cheaper… my periods came back, long and painful last week I went to get a represcription for my contraception and I told the doctor I want cerezette, he happily prescribed it but explained and showed me his screen. Basically whenever he tried to prescribe it he had an automatic message telling him to swap it, he explained that the surgery keep an eye on this and he can get on trouble if he does it a lot, he made it as a joke, but you could tell he was quite serious.

    • Caroline Y

      I have just read all these comments as was doing a search as have docs apt in morning. I have been on Cerelle for 3 months after coming off Marvelon due to my age of 48. I have been rolling around in agony and sweating with pain for two days, it’s like the worst cramps I have had in my life, like when I was a teenager. I am so bloated I look 8 months pregnant and I have had terrible itchy skin also my boobs are so painful I can hardly put my bra on. I am so worried and praying the doctor will be able to help me in the morning

      • Lisse

        Just found your thread as I have suddenly been swapped to Cerelle after years of success on Cerazette. However, they told me that the reason was that the manufacturers of Cerazette are not currently making it. I was told Cerelle was identical but 7 days after starting it I started getting hot flushes, cramps and now I’m bleeding. Not happy. I may adjust but I find it hard to believe that they’re identical after this (and potato starch wouldn’t cause hot flushes and cramps and bleeding surely!!). I had no insecurities about taking Cerelle, no psychological issues so I don’t think it’s psychosomatic. Does anyone know if Cerazette is still available or will be again?

  • Natasha

    Hi, I’ve just come across your blog about cerelle and I just wanted to say I am glad I’m not alone! I was put on cerelle 4 months ago after being on mercilon (combined pill) for about 20 years but due to recently getting bad headaches I was told I couldn’t take them anymore as risk of stroke. Well first few weeks OMG! The mood swings, swearing which I don’t really do!! Thankfully only lasted a few weeks and as nurse said I needed to give pill 3 months to let my body get used to them. Then came feeling bloated all the time, very sore boobs agony! Put on weight although haven’t eaten any more than normal and I’m quite active, the last straw for me was I started getting spots on neck, hair line and forehead which in all my life never experienced!!! Usually get the odd spot on chin that’s it. Thankfully the only thing I didn’t get is heavy bleeding just a bit of spotting to start with. To be honest I would rather have the bad headache. Well after a lot of thought I have decided cerelle has put me off taking the mini pill I went and spoke with nurse and basically I will never be allowed to take the combined pill so I’ve made the decision to stop taking cerelle and see if the spots, bloating and sore boobs and sometimes feeling low subside, the only thing I’m worried about is having periods as I went on the pill to calm my periods as I used to have very heavy periods but to be honest it’s the chance I’m willing to take and I’m older so my hormones may of changed fingers crossed! I was offered to try another pill but like I said cerelle has put me off, obviously everyone is different they may suit some just like I never had any issues on mercilon until recently. So this is my second day without taking cerelle only time will tell. Best wishes x

    • Sarah Thomas

      Habe also just been changed to cerelle as I could get get cerazette at any pharmacy has any one suffered from constant tiredness with this I just can’t stay awake after 8ish and feel sluggish when I wake up?

      • Lisse

        God, yes. I’ve been utterly exhausted to the point of falling asleep at my desk at work several times. I’m going to have to go back to the doctor I think. Not a fan of cerelle at all. The other symptoms have calmed down but I’ve put on weight due to increased appetite and my skin is showing signs of hormone spots. If it’s the exact same drug as cerezette I’m Mary Poppins!

        • sarah

          I know didn’t really think anything of it until watching by housewives and she mentioned it helped you sleep and it clicked only been on it three weeks will give it a little longer but if it carry on may just stop them altogether have been on cerazette for years so body could probably do with a rest from it all god help me planned on sailing through the change on them ha ha xxx

          • sarah

            So just to say decided to stop taking cerelle to see what happens first day and I’m still awake at nearly ten and feel better already hopefully it’s not all in my head has been years since I needed them but tampons are on standby xx

  • Christy

    I was on Cerazette for about a year when they said they were having manufacturing problems with it and I had to switch to Cerelle. I totally went in with an open mind, it’s the same thing, same active ingredient etc. I have been on it about two months and I am in misery. I feel like I have bad pms constantly. I am having terrible anxiety, depression, panic attacks, cramps, food cravings, mood swings etc. I thought I was going crazy but I am hoping it is the switched medicine. I’m extremely sensitive to medications so it could very well be the switch. I just called my pharmacy today because I can’t take it any more (I have been diagnosed with PMDD in the past and don’t want to go there again) and they had a box of Cerazette in stock finally so she said to call my dr and get a prescription for it and now I have it in my hot little hands. I will find out hopefully in a few days if this is what has caused me the problems. I would like to not feel like a crazy woman. lol Thank you for this post!

    • Julie Martin Post author

      When I wrote this years ago I wasn’t sure anyone would even read this, I’m so glad I wrote about how it made me feel though. It was so stressful. I hope you feel better very soon.

      • Trace

        Thanks for this thread. 12 years ago I was happily on a different mini-pill but made to change to a generic version as I was told it was discontinued (not so sure now). Previously regular periods became prolonged, heavy and painful with 2-3 weeks of bleeding out of 4 not uncommon. Over the space of 9 months I saw a consultant, had a scan, was told I had an ovarian cyst and put on Cerazette. I was also told that it was quite common for the mini-pill to cause cysts but no one told me that when I started taking it!

        Two weeks I go I saw the FP nurse who told me I had to change to Cerelle because local pharmacies were having problems getting Cerezette. She assured me it was identical but strangely told me that it didn’t have the “10 hour” window to take it like Cerazette does (so it’s not the same then …). I did some research, found threads like this, got Boots to show me a carousel full of Cerazette and went back to see the GP today. Apart from my own previous experience of switching to so-called identical generic products, my argument was that I will be 55 next year and will be stopping taking it anyway even thought to date I have had no convincing signs of menopause. I was told that it is a cost issue and that they are required to make people try Cerelle but if they have problem they can go back on Cerezette! So they acknowledge that it is possible then!

        She gave in in the end when I asked if I really had to go through the possible side effects for the sake of another year. She gave me enough to see me through to 55 and I left feeling like a scrounging drain on the NHS. I’m most annoyed that I was told two different stories. The GP denied that the “10 hour” window issue exists with Cerelle. She said it was 12 anyway so I don’t know who is right on that (or frankly why I should believe either of them).

        Anyway, sorry for the long post. I just wanted to add my experience in the hope that it helps someone, as this thread has helped me.


        • Julie Martin Post author

          Thank you Trace. I so wanted to stay on the medication that didn’t make me ill, but doctors wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t even able to buy it without prescription.

          It got so much that after this post my partner had “the snip” just so I could stop taking the cheap pill and being ill.

          Patient choice, my arse.

  • Jane Fletcher

    Hi, l have been reading your posts with interest. I have been on Cerrazette for about 20 years with no pains or periods. They swapped me to Cerelle this month and m have been taking them for about 10 days. I am now experiencing a sharp pain in the right hand inside hip area and down my right leg. I also get little waves of stronger pain that last a few seconds. Have phoned the pharmacy as its a weekend and he does not think it’s linked to the pill change. Has suggested calling doctors if still in pain when they open. Has any one else had this type of pain?

    • sarah

      I have to say there are probably all kinds of different symptoms when changing the pill the doctors are in denial about all of them in my opinion I had some narky moments last year if you know what I mean and was surprised as I had always been very even and stable on cerazette when I asked my doc if I’d just got used to it and it wasn’t balancing out my hormones anymore maybe iwas i going through the change he said it actually doesn’t affect you hormone levels!! It may be the case in theory but I’m convinced my even state was pill based so if you have any symptoms and you think it’s due to the pill it’s probably too much if a coincidence not to be I stopped cerelle as it made me very sleepy after three weeks and have never been happier I never want to take the pill again but there are effect of stopping it you don realise so see your doc first I didn’t but probably should have for advice sorry for long reply x

  • everyotherfreckle

    I have been reading loads online about the differences between Cerelle and Cerazette and just came across this. For about 6 months I was taking Cerazette and it was great! It stopped my heavy, long, painful periods which had caused me issues since I first started my period. However, one day when going to the doctors to get a repeat prescription I noticed the change in name. I didn’t think anything of it so carried on (or so I thought) taking the same pill. It was fine for a few months, apart from the fact I’d started to get lots of spots around my hairline and on my chin, which wouldn’t go away. I’d never really had acne or major spots even during puberty. I thought it was due to the foundation I was wearing but they were still there when I stopped using the particular foundation. I didn’t think anything of it because I was just so happy not to have periods anymore. However around May 2016 I started feeling really anxious all the time and had a panic attack at work. Since May it got progressively worse, feeling depressed, anxious and I started to get bad headaches and dizziness and my weight dropped loads! I stopped taking Cerelle a month ago and since then I feel terrible. People on other websites say that it takes a few months to get back to normal but honestly I don’t know if I can carry on feeling like this for that long. Is it true that Cerazette is no longer available?
    I know this has been a super-long post but just wanted to share my experience! Please let me know if you have any advice for me.

    • Lisse

      I’ve been on the Cerelle a few months now after deciding to persevere to see if things improved. They have but not much. I’m going to go back to the GP and if I can’t get Cerazette I will seriously consider coming off the pill altogether – which will also be unpleasant but I feel it will be better than my current state.

      Everyotherfreckle – I was told that Cerazette was still being made but that it was difficult to get hold of in this country at present. Who knows what the truth is but other posters on the thread have seen in in chemists recently so I would go back to your GP, describe what’s happened to you and get another prescription for Cerazette if you can. Phone around chemists before you get the prescription filled to make sure they have Cerazette in stock.

  • Deborah Kelly

    Hi there
    this is very interesting, my doctors surgery nurse gave me cerelle just over 5 weeks ago, saying that cerazette was not available but this was the same, i was concerned as very happy with my forma contraceptive, i started the pack and sure enough all seemed well until about the 3rd week in, my boobs became very sore, swollen and hot, i have not felt this for some time as its part of my normal ovulation process, which leads me to believe the ingredients are not quite the same, i had this discomfort for about 10 days and its easing off, nipples are still very tender, thats why i am on the internet looking for information; i believe i will be going back to demand my cerazette.

  • Linda

    After not having been on any type of contraceptive pill since 2004, I started taking Cerazette in May 2016 to help with extremely heavy periods which had begun to impact on my work life (I’m now 48). I had a very slight weight gain at the start and a bleed 2 months later. When I returned to the Drs in August for a check up, the GP (not the initial one I saw when prescribed Cerazette) told me that, due to financial reasons, she wanted to swap me onto Cerelle. I was told it was exactly the same as Cerazette just different manufacturers so I agreed.

    Within two weeks I was very (and painfully) bloated, my bust was very tender and this carried on until I had another bleed at the beginning of October. I have also gained quite a bit of weight in this time. I do go to the gym and am weighed and measured every month and have done since January 2015. The trainer has over the last couple of months commented on the increase in both weight and measurements.

    Anyway, I have been back to see the GP this morning and was lucky enough to see the original GP. She has agreed that the symptoms I have experienced must have been down to Cerelle and, without having to ask, she has put me back on Cerazette. I still have another 10 days of Cerelle left but these will be going in the bin! From tomorrow, I’ll start taking Cerazette again. Fingers crossed, I will stop feeling bloated and tender and my weight will stabilize, if not drop again.

    Please don’t accept that you can’t have Cerazette because it’s not available. You can!!!!! It may be more expensive but at the end of the day, it’s our health that matters and cheaper is not always best!

    • Linda

      Just a quick update. I changed back onto Cerazette the following day (18th October) so have now been taking it again for over a month. During that time, the bloating has gone, my bust is not sore and I feel “normal” again! I have also lost almost a stone in weight and my measurements are more or less back to what they were when I was swapped onto Cerelle in August.

      The next hurdle is seeing another GP at the beginning of January as the GP I saw last month will be on holiday. Hopefully I won’t have a fight on my hands and she will just let me stay on Cerazette.

  • Alexandra Hall

    my doctor has changed me from the combined pill to the cerelle pill, however, she informed me to take it every 12 hours, however all my research tells me to take it ever 24 hours, i am very confused and as you have taken it i was wondering if you could let me know how to take it properly?

    • Linda

      Alexandra – it should be taken once a day and at the same time each day. However, if you do forget, you have a 12 hour window in which to take a tablet and still remain protected. Just take the following day’s tablet at the usual time. Hope this helps.

  • Becky Wood

    I had the whole brand swap on me and at the time didn’t think anything of it..then I started getting feminine itching..a lot like every trip to the bathroom is was scratching like a mad woman and it put a major dampener on my sex life. At the time did the usual change wash powders and everything else. I finally caved and went to the doc they checked blood in case it was thyroid etc..no joy so gave up..I finally had the thought it was the pill. Stopped taking it and the itching was practically non existent after 5 days. Having now had 2 periods since though they have been hell compared to previously. So when I go back in I think I will need words with doc.

  • Julie

    Started cirelle around 6 weeks ago as cernazette wasnt available.
    Started getting really paranoid and bad insomnia.
    Tried to work out what was causing this then 5am monday morning i realised i had started taking this new pill.
    Come on here and see all this stories about others suffering with the change.
    Stopped taken the cirelle the next day and ordered cernazette from Lloyds pharmacy.
    Hope i get back to normality.
    Sending love ladies.

  • Km

    I was on cerazette and like others switched to cerelle a couple years ago.
    I didn’t have issues.
    After last pill check my prescription read desogesterel instead of cerelle, and the pharmacy filled it with cerazette. I was surprised.
    Wonder if it’s making a comeback?

    • Carolyn

      Actually the same for me.
      Hadn’t taken any pills for years, then last May visited Doctors with irregular periods, thinking I could be menopausal (50). She did tests and said definitely not. But very low in iron.
      Long and short prescribed Mini pill to help with heavy periods. I got Cerelle. Luckily for me no major issues.
      Just collected another prescription which said desogesterel. Have looked at packets and they are Cerazette.

    • Linda

      KM and Carolyn – I wonder if so many women have experienced problems when changed from Cerazette to Cerelle that GPs are now having to acknowledge that there are issues? In addition, quietly reintroducing Cerazette as they had told women that it was discontinued when it had NOT been?

      • km

        My GP surgery was quite open, was told once the Cerazette compound became generic it would be much cheaper to prescribe as Cerelle, thus they would do so, and did.
        Certainly seems like something has changed recently.

    • KM

      So 6 months later, prescription time again. Still reads Desogestrel. Today I was given Cerelle.
      Now thinking it’s whatever the pharmacy has in stock?
      I am going to discuss this with Nurse at my next review. I would like one or the other, just for consistency. I did fine when changed from Cerazette to Cerelle so if the prescription can be changed to read the latter, I will be satisfied.

  • Freya.R


    I just found this article as I was wanting to find out if there was a difference between the two. I was on Cerazette for years (I can’t take the others as i suffer migraines) and i had no issue with taking it. No side effects at all. Two years after a break from the pill i have started a new relationship and decided to go back on for back up protection. They gave me Cerelle, assuring me it was the same as Cerazette. Months in my periods are either every two weeks or nothing at all. I feel bloated and fat constantly and I’ve broken out in hives all over face. I’ve never had hives before. It’s awful looking and so itchy. I’m coming off the pill now and going to put in a message about this switch up. IF it really is because it is cheaper…What a crappy excuse. I really hope you feel better and find something that works for you. There is nothing worse that mood changes and anxieties related to meds. X

  • Jo

    I am so glad I came across this blog because I couldn’t work out what was happening to my body. I too had taken Cerrazette for 12 years with no periods and no problems as I can’t take the combined pill and I used to get heavy painful periods so need something to control them. I always went to the sexual health clinic rather than my GP for my prescription as the clinic seemed to know alot more about the various types of contraception available. About 9 months ago it was changed to Feanolla ( anyone had experience of this pill?)which the clinic said was the same as Cerrazette just a different name due to manufacturing and I recall something about it being cheaper!! I trusted the medical professional. After about a month I started bleeding with cramps thought it was a bit odd then nothing happened for a few months now I have had 2 random periods about 38 days apart and hot flushes which is not normal for me on the mini pill. I’m 45 so potentially have another 10 years of this ! Is Cerrazette definitely available ? if I can’t get a prescription I think I’ll have to buy it and see if things return to ‘normal’ if not I’ll seek further investigations. Weight gain, loss of libido I’ll deal with but not random bleeding !!! Apologies for long post

    • Caroline

      Hi, you can definitely still get Cerazette, I have got it no problem from Boots. I went back to the doctors and insisted they prescribe it to me as had bad side effects on Cerelle. Been on cerazette now for a year and so much better though I have had four periods this month which is a pain (very light & it is rare this happens) you should be able to get this prescription now problem, it’s just they have been told to prescribe the cheaper alternative first. Hope this helps and good luck.

  • Elena

    Hey, I experienced exactly the same when my prescription was changed to Cerelle about 4 years ago now.

    Since then I have just been buying my Cerazette from Lloyds Pharmacy online. You have to enter information that is checked by a doctor so I know it’s safe and it’s really reasonably priced.

    If Cerelle was exactly the same, why is it so much cheaper to produce? Just doesn’t add up.

  • Cath

    Interesting read ….. Cerelle (desogestrel) Also Cerazette (desogestrel)
    Yet according to Wikipedia ……
    Desogestrel is the generic name of the drug
    Brand names
    Desogestrel is marketed under a variety of brand names throughout the world including Alenvona, Apri, Azalia, Azurette, Caziant, Cerazette, Cerelle, Cesia, Cyclessa, Denise, Desogen, Desirett, Diamilla, Emoquette, Feanolla, Gedarel, Gracial, Kariva, Laurina, Linessa, Marvelon, Mercilon, Mircette, Mirvala, Novynette, Ortho-Cept, Reclipsen, Regulon, Solia, Velivet, and Viorele among others

    My daughter was told her new prescription for Desogestral was exactly the same as her previous Cerazette (Which she had taken without problems for approx 5 years) It clearly isn’t as she has had problems ever since the change over, with painful cramps and bleeding!

  • Sam

    Hi Julie.

    I have been taking Cerazette for years, mostly because I have really erratic periods that can last for months or days, with months apart or days apart! This even happened on the combined pill and at the ripe age of 47 I’ve tried a few!
    My Dr’s have been trying to slip Cerelle past me on a number of occasions and I could kick myself I got caught out yesterday.
    The first time they changed my prescription I went back to the Dr’s and was told, like everyone else that it is the same pill. So having trust in the professionals I took them as instructed. Oh hell hath no fury like a woman menstruating. I bled for over 3 months with no let up. I was drained of energy and lost interest in everything from socialising to fun activities. My mood was low and I had no patience with my family or anyone else that i came across. I stomped back to the Dr’s and with a bit of arguing got Cerazette back. The Bleed stopped within days and I was back to my happy clappy self after about a week. This was ALL without Psychosymatic conditions. I had believed them to be the same, but chemically whilst the active ingredient is the same I can’t believe for a second that they are.
    Their penny pinching ways don’t take into consideration the cost of support women who suffer the side effects and its disgusting for them to continually maintain that it is the same pill. It is not.
    I wanted to share this story with you, because anyone else going through this can see there is a long history of experience that women have that contradicts the advice given.

    Hope everything has settled for you,.

    All the best

  • JoJo

    Thank you Julie for sharing this!
    I also suffer with a similar phobia, especially since my periods got ridiculously heavy to a point that I am scared and actually unable to leave the house. After various investigations, they put me on Cerazette which hasn’t been great for the first 2.5 months but I feel things are slightly improving. So I went for my check today and was told I was getting the same pill, only for the chemist to hand me over a box of Desogestrel. I questioned it immediately as even though it’s the same active ingredient, I’ve read that people have suffered various side effects from changing. Both receptionist and chemist assured me it was exactly the same so I reluctantly accepted my pills and went home. I started reading the leaflet which seemed to contain identical information to the Cerazette one and I almost put it down without reading it all until I spotted the word PEANUTS in bald! As someone who has suffered with a severe peanut allergy all my life, I was shocked to read that this should not be prescribed to people like me!! My nurse didn’t say anything, neither did the chemist and the warning was tiny, right at the bottom of the leaflet.
    I have now rang them and requested to change back to Cerazette and they told me to call back in 2 days. I am sat here panicking thinking what’s going to happen if they don’t let me have it and stuff like this. This is just ridiculous and I’m sure the stress has just resulted in my 9 day period lasting even longer 🙁

    Just wanted to make people aware about the peanut/soy allergy warning as nobody seems to know about it. Scary!

  • Rachel

    I am glad to read this post as I was just about to leave my doctors office with the same thing! I have only just started on cerzette 3 months ago so my body is still getting used to it. I checked the prescription just as I went to leave and it said cerelle! Turned around and told them I wanted the pill I started on, I knew myself they tried to change it because it’s a cheaper pill but I was not having any of it.
    She tried to reasure me it was the exact same pill just another name but i knew from my own research that it isn’t. I’ll always double check from now on, I’m sorry to hear about the ordeal you went through but thank you for posting and making people like me aware of it. x

  • Lily

    It’s not a couple of pence cheaper it’s around £6 difference. The NHS and pharmacies are under pressure with funding and therefore looking for cheaper alternatives to expensive branded medication. Pharmacies don’t get paid any extra for dispensing the more expensive Cerazette, instead they’re at more of a loss. If you want it you should pay the £6 difference or just take the alternative which is the exact same active drug. I’ve worked in a pharmacy for years and having to deal with people getting mad at the change from branded to generic medication. We aren’t out to get you, we’re trying to save money that we desperately need. Other countries like the US have to pay for the drug plus the dispensing fee. Could you imagine paying £9.55 for your 84 Cerazette then a dispensing charge on top of that?

    Here is a link showing the price differences.

    The NHS price is the price the NHS pays to prescribe you the medication. The drug tariff is the amount the pharmacy gets paid for dispensing it.


    I hope this had educated you in how prescribing and dispensing works.

    • Linda

      Lily – it’s not a case of “if you want it … pay the £6 difference …” it is a case of Cerelle causes nasty side effects for a lot of people, which Cerazette does not. If you scroll back through these comments, you will find my experiences of being changed from Cerazette to Cerelle in 2016. I am still on Cerazette and have experienced no further issues. As I said in my post, Cerelle may be cheaper but there is also a health issue here. The price difference was explained to me and I was told Cerelle and Cerazette are exactly the same, which is why I tried Cerelle. However, THEY ARE NOT the same! Following the side effects I experienced, it is now written in my medical notes that I MUST NOT be prescribed Cerelle!

      Why should an individual have to pay the additional £6 as you suggest, in order to stay on Cerazette, just because our bodies can’t tolerate Cerelle?

      • Julie Martin Post author

        Argeed, the side effects were so much worse. It was not about wanting more for less money, it was wanting the correct medicine for my body. Cerelle was the reason my poor Husband had to have the snip in the end, and I will never take it again.

    • Julie Martin Post author

      Here’s the thing, I offered to pay the extra. For the negative effect the replacement had on my body, I was definitely willing to pay.

      I wrote this years ago, and since then my partner has had a vasectomy purely because contraceptive tablets were bad for me and causing me harm. We got a new doctor, who said almost immediately after seeing me that I should avoid hormone contraceptives and they were actually causing my excessive bleeding.